Vols overbear the Tigers, pick up sixth straight SEC series.

Photo Credit: Emma Ramsey/ Tennessee Athletics

By Jace Brown

KNOXVILLE, Tenn. – It was another big weekend for the Vols, which featured many different versions of the Tennessee offense. Regardless of their impact, the Vols sweep
the Tigers on the series.

In Thursday’s opener, Tennessee (37-7, 15-6) smacked six homers en rout to a 10-1 victory. Third baseman Billy Amick tagged two long balls, making it four on the week after he hit two in Tuesday’s midweek battle with Western Carolina. Catcher Cannon Peebles finally scratched across a homer himself, his first of the season. While being one of the more notable names in Tennessee’s transfer class, Peebles has struggled all season to perform at the plate after hitting 14 homers in his freshman season at NC State.

Friday night’s contest had an odd vibe to it. First baseman Blake Burke had one-in-a-million moment, breaking his bat, Missouri’s DH Mateo Serna lost control of his bat on a swing and it flew through the Tennessee dugout, and the relatively light crowd at Lindsey Nelson Stadium was one of the more raucous of the season.

Tennessee pitcher Drew Beam stitched together one of his better outings of the season, going 7.1 innings with eight strikeouts, allowing six hits and just two runs, those coming courtesy of the batter he faced. Missouri (19-26, 6-15) third baseman Trevor Austin hit his 10th home run of the year in the eighth, a 2-run blast that cut Tennessee’s lead to one.

The Vols’ defensive effort was the big difference in the contest. Outfielder Kavares Tears made a diving catch in right before firing the ball to first to complete a 9-3 double play in the second. Shortstop Dean Curley made huge play in the sixth inning, a Jumpman-esque leap eliminated a sure hit to left center. Catcher Cal Stark got the Vols out of a
bases loaded jam with a back pick to first to ends the Tigers’ threat.

“They played amazing,” said Beam. “It’s great knowing they have my back on defense and making really good plays on defense… It’s nice knowing that if I don’t have my best, they’re going to have my back and make plays for me out there.”

Game Three matched the billing of Game Two, again finishing with Tennessee on top 3-2. Four of the game’s five runs were scored in the first inning including all of Tennessee’s runs for the game.

Tennessee pitchers Zander Sechrist, Nate Snead, Aaron Combs, and Kirby Connell combined for the nine-inning effort, as Snead picked up his seventh win and Connell picked up his third save.

Connell mentioned how much games like Sunday’s are important for the younger players.

“I think it’s really good for the team, to get the guys like Dean (Curley) to realize what a Regional and Super Regional game is like,” said Connell. “Tight games where it’s going into the ninth, I think that really helps them.”

Curley stepped up on the offensive side with a 2-out, 2-run single in the bottom of the first that boosted the Vols’ lead to 3-1. Curley took what the veterans like Connell said to heart.

“All these guys are saying this is like a Regional or Super Regional,” said Curley. “It’s good to get it under my belt not having been there before.”

Drew Beam looks to be in form, his one hiccup coming in the eighth inning. Connell worked great outings on Saturday and Sunday to strengthen his role as the bullpen go-getter. With big-time outings from both players, the overlooked and most doubted room on the team looked to be the strong suit with the bats being dead.

The Vols won each game in a different way: Thursday had the bats, Friday had the defense, and Sunday had the pitching. The variety of game-types at this point in the season should prove crucial for the Vols in the postseason where many more games will be close contests.

Even though the program’s longest hit streak is over, Burke put together a great weekend in the field, making several plays to ensure Tennessee’s success from the first base slot. His bat might have to wake up next weekend as the Vols travel down to The Swamp, never an easy place to play.


    The Vols take on another in-state team for midweek action on Tuesday, April 30, as Lipscomb takes the trip up to Knoxville. First pitch for that contest is at 6:00 p.m. ET on SEC Network+.

    Tennessee’s next SEC action is on a road trip down to Gainesville, Fla., to take on utility man Jac Caglianone and the Gators. The Vols’ last trip to Florida ended in a sweep of the Gators in 2022. First pitch of the series opener on Thursday, May 2, is at 7:00 p.m. ET on ESPN2.