No. 17 Tennessee defeated Georgia State 6-1 on Friday to take game one of the weekend series. Right-handed pitcher Chad Dallas was presumed to get the start until he was a late scratch due to soreness.
Will Heflin got the ball instead, and was solid for the Vols. He threw 7.0 innings and struck out eight with zero walks. Georgia State scattered six hits, including a solo home run, but Heflin did not allow them to capitalize.
Kirby Connell pitched two scoreless innings to finish things up. The lefty duo combined to strike out 11 Georgia State players while allowing no walks.
The only time Georgia State made a threat on offense was in the fourth inning. A pair of singles and an error loaded the bases with one out. Heflin got the next batter to hit into a double play that ended the inning.
“You’re not going to go through a game unscathed,” Heflin said. “Limiting that big inning can be a huge deal.”
He cruised through the final three innings to close out his night.
Tennessee head coach Tony Vitello discussed how much it meant to the team for Heflin to throw seven innings, especially with the short notice.
“What he did overall was seize the day. Whatever Eminem song about when it’s your moment, that was pretty special,” he said.
Tennessee’s offense had been top-heavy lately. In the sixth inning, the bottom of the order was due up. All three got on base and all three scored runs.
“Guys that are certainly capable,” Vitello said. “They bring in a lefty with a really good arm. That matchup is supposed to be in their favor, but our guys really battled.” The top of the order was able to bring them around that inning.
Vitello said that the goal is to get the entire lineup producing at its potential, and for that to carry over into other games.
Game two of the series for No. 17 Tennessee (9-2) and Georgia State (4-7) is on Saturday. First pitch is set for 3 p.m. EST.
Edited by Christian Knox
Featured image courtesy of Tennessee Baseball Twitter (@Vol_Baseball)