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5 run 6th help lift Vols past ‘Bama State 10-0

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Vols advance to winner’s bracket in Knoxville Regional

 

Vols scored five runs in the sixth, and Blade Tidwell turned in a dominant start en route to the 10-0 win.

 

With the win, the Volunteers (55-7) advanced to Sunday's regional final and will await the winner of Georgia Tech and Campbell, who will play an elimination game to kick off the action at 2 p.m.

 

Five UT players posted multi-hit efforts as the Orange and White cranked out 15 total hits on the night, including four home runs.  

Drew Gilbert, Jorel Ortega and Cortland Lawson all homered and had three RBIs apiece to lead the offensive onslaught. Blake Burke also homered for the 14th time this season to tie the program's single season record for home runs by a freshman.  

Despite the impressive offensive numbers, it was the Fighting Camels that threw the first punch. The Big Orange had to battle back from a four-run deficit in the third inning, tying their largest comeback win of the season.

After getting runners in scoring position in the first and second innings but failing to capitalize, the Campbell (41-18) broke through in the third with four runs (two earned) on four hits and an error to take a 4-0 lead and chase Vols' starter Chase Dollander from the game. Veteran lefty reliever Kirby Connell was able to strand the bases loaded with a fly out to left field to limit further damage.

Connell was nothing short of spectacular from that point forward, allowing just two runs on three hits in four innings of work while tossing a career-high 65 pitches en route to earning his fourth victory of the year.

Tennessee immediately answered the Camels' four-spot with three runs of their own in the top of the fourth to cut the deficit to one. Gilbert got the rally started with a double to right field and raced home one batter later on a single by Trey Lipscomb to get UT on the board. Ortega continued his hot hitting with a no-doubt two-run homer over the porches in left field to bring the Vols within a run.

It was Gilbert who came up clutch once again for the Vols in the top of the fifth, blasting a mammoth three-run home run to give UT its first lead of the night. After falling behind 0-2 in the count, Gilbert hammered a hanging breaking ball over the videoboard for his 11th long ball of the year. UT added another run later in the inning on an infield single by Ortega to make it 7-4.

Campbell battled back to plate a pair of runs in the bottom of the seventh with a Drake Pierson two-run homer to center field to pull back within one, but Burke quickly answered with a solo shot of his own in the top of the eighth to put the Big Orange up 8-6.

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