Tomorrow’s game for all the marbles
An eight-run fifth inning and seven frames of two-run ball from SEC Pitcher of the Year Chase Dollander helped propel the Vols past Notre Dame, 12-2.
Tennessee got on the board quickly Saturday, with a Seth Stephenson lead-off single coming around to score off a Trey Lipscomb, two-out double. But that ended up as the only run either team pushed across through the first four innings.
Dollander didn’t allow a hit in the first but then had to work through a leadoff single and subsequent swipe of second base from Notre Dame’s Jack Zyska in the second. Dollander induced a weak pop up from Jared Miller and a line out from David LaManna before striking out Brooks Coetzee to end the inning unscathed.
Tennessee’s sophomore righty allowed just one hit through the next two innings, and then in the top half of the fifth, the offense gave him way more run support than he’d end up needing.
I’m not gonna go through the whole bit here, but here’s the summary:
Tennessee hit four home runs in the fifth— two of which came off the bat of Luc Lipcius. Jordan Beck and Evan Russell also went deep, with Beck’s being a three-run shot that still might not have landed.
JORDAN BECK ABSOLUTELY SMASHES ONE AND THE VOLS LEAD BY 5!!!
— Tennessee Baseball (@Vol_Baseball) June 11, 2022
Lipcius’ and Russell’s were notable for two reasons, as neither had homered since the Mississippi State series that started on May 19th, and since they’re in the midst of a back-and-forth duel for the Tennessee career home run record. Russell came into the game tied with Todd Helton at 38 career blasts, which Luc tied with his first dinger of the inning. Russell took the lead back with his home run, and then Lipcius re-tied him again with his second of the frame.
Dollander worked through early base runners in the fifth and the sixth innings, but the Irish managed just one score in each.
Tennessee tagged ND reliever Radek Birkholz for three more runs in the seventh thanks to three hits and an Irish error.
Dollander’s seven innings were huge for the strategy of tomorrow’s game, as reliever Mark McLaughlin was good enough to get the game’s final nine outs without the Vols having to burn another bullpen arm. I’m not sure who will start tomorrow’s game with a trip to the College World Series on the line, but both Drew Beam and Chase Burns are available. This deep into a season, that’s a big burden for any freshman, but I probably lean to going with Burns.
Beam’s given up four walks in each of his last two outings and hasn’t looked great since his 10-K effort against Bama on 4/17, while Burns has 16 Ks and two BBs in his last 12 IP (three outings).
Dollander’s final line: 7 IP, 5 H, 2 R, 5 K, 0 BB. He threw 77 of his 112 pitches for strikes and ended the first, second, sixth and seventh innings with strikeouts.
Every hitter in Tennessee’s starting batting order recorded at least one hit, while Stephenson, Beck and Lipcius had multi-hit games.
Jared Dickey started in left field and went 1-1 with two walks in place of suspended Drew Gilbert. Gilbert will be back tomorrow, in centerfield and batting cleanup.
First pitch is scheduled for 1 PM Sunday.