Tennessee Drops In-State Matchup to Lipscomb as Offense Falters

Photo Credit: Ryan Beatty/Tennessee Athletics

By Riley Haltom

KNOXVILLE, Tenn. – On a clear, cool Tuesday evening, the Vols were locked in a tense battle
with the Lipscomb Bisons. Usually, fans start clearing out of Lindsey-Nelson Stadium in the
seventh, but not tonight, not when the game was as close as it was. Ultimately, the Vol faithful were met with disappointment as the Vols lost 9-6.

Head coach Tony Vitello is focused on getting the team ready for the next game.

“Well it’s going to carry over to the weekend. The turnaround is too quick. Obviously when you take that jersey off tonight there’s some frustration, it’s about how you respond to it.”

Lipscomb started the scoring early with a double from leadoff man Alex Vergara, who ultimately finished the night 3-4 at the plate with 2 homers, that led to an RBI single from Trace Willhoite, but starting pitcher Dylan Loy was able to escape the inning with just one earned run.

The Vols responded quickly with all four players at the top of the lineup reaching the bases. Leadoff man Christian Moore was nearly hit by the first pitch, and then was struck by the second pitch. Blake Burke followed it up with a walk and a Billy Amick single loaded the bases for Dylan Dreiling, who delivered with an RBI single through the gap to score Moore. Dean Curley hit into a double play, but was able to plate Burke to put the Vols up by one run after the first frame.

A quiet second inning from the Bison offense gave the Vol offense the opportunity to extend their lead, and a Colby Backus double and Dalton Bargo walk set up Burke for a two-RBI double to put the Vols up 4-1.

Lipscomb found a solo homer from Vergara in the third frame, which started a streak of six
unanswered runs for the Bison. Jacob Tobias hit a two-RBI double to score David Coppedge and Will Lee in the fourth. Vergara hit another solo shot in the fifth, followed by a pair of solo homers from Coppedge and Parks Bouck in the sixth.

Tennessee finally responded in the seventh. Burke led off with a single, and Curley found an RBI single to score Burke. The Vol offense failed to build any sort of momentum, however. Lipscomb’s Carter Richey hit an RBI double, scoring Coppedge in the eighth. Coppedge ended the night 4-4 at the plate. Richey then scored off a wild pitch, bringing the Bison to their final total of nine runs.

Tennessee failed complete a bottom of the ninth comeback despite an Amick solo shot, scoring just six runs on the night, the lowest total for a midweek since their 3-2 win over UNC Asheville in February. Vitello feels the low offensive output can be reduced to one problem.

“Repeated mistakes,” Vitello said. “A guy going three at-bats in a row making the same mistake. Maybe not having a specific plan with runners. You can’t just get up there and whale away, you have to have a plan.”

The Vols are back in action Thursday at 7 p.m. ET against the Florida Gators in Gainesville.