Yet another strong pitching performance propelled the Vols to victory on Saturday. No. 17 Tennessee (10-2) defeated Georgia State (4-8) 5-1 in game two of the weekend set. Tennessee clinched the series with the win. It also marked the Vols’ sixth home win of the season.
The Vols were once again led by pitching, this time by freshman starter Blade Tidwell. The Loretto, Tennessee native tossed six shutout innings while collecting seven strikeouts.
With Tennessee up 2-0 in the top of the sixth inning, Georgia State got two runners in scoring position with one out. Tidwell struck out the next two hitters with breaking balls to end the threat.
“You could literally see (Tidwell) growing up in front of you while he was pitching because he finally started to involve off speed pitches,” Tennessee coach Tony Vitello said. He said it was pleasing to see Tidwell to get out of the tough situation.
Senior Redmond Walsh came out of the bullpen in the eighth inning with Tennessee leading 2-1. He pitched two shutout innings while allowing one hit to slam the door on Georgia State.
The Vols’ bats were off to a slow start on Saturday. They did not score until the fifth inning, but Vitello said the offense made better adjustments during the game than they had previously in similar scenarios.
Senior first baseman Luc Lipcius gave his team some insurance in the bottom of the eighth. He hit a three-run home run to push the Vols’ lead to 5-1. The homer occurred immediately after Connor Pavolony, the previous batter, was hit in the head with a pitch.
“The first thing that went through my mind was ‘I’m going to avenge (Pavolony)’… I finally got the heater that I hit it out on,” Lipcius said. He said that he is beginning to relax and feel more comfortable at the plate as the season goes on.
First pitch for game three of the Georgia State series is scheduled for 1 p.m. EST on Sunday.
Edited by Christian Knox