April 22, 2024

MLB Desert Invitational Recap: Vols drop two, win one

How Tennessee baseball faired in its trip to Arizona during the MLB Desert Invitational.

Tennessee's Head Coach Tony Vitello during game two of the NCAA Knoxville Super Regionals between Tennessee and Notre Dame at Lindsey Nelson Stadium in Knoxville, Tenn. on Saturday, June 11, 2022. Calvin Mattheis/News Sentinel / USA TODAY NETWORK

The second-ranked Tennessee baseball team had a disappointing opening weekend following enormous preseason hype. The Vols dropped two of their three games, only winning the final game against a lackluster UC San Diego squad on Sunday.

Arizona wins 3-1 on opening night

The Vols dropped their season opener against Arizona for the first time since 2018. The Vols struggled offensively and near-perfect pitching play from the Wildcats stopped the Vols’ attack.

Before the game, Kansas transfer Maui Ahuna was ruled ineligible to play this weekend due to pending eligibility clearance. Redshirt sophomore Austen Jaslove started all weekend at shortstop in his replacement.

The night’s only run would come early as Christian Moore scored on a sacrifice fly from Zane Denton at the top of the first.

Arizona’s starting pitcher TJ Nichols threw six innings with six strikeouts and allowed only three hits. The Arizona bullpen was lights out to end the game — only giving up three hits through the final three frames.

Chase Dollander had a rough start but picked up the pace as the night went on. The junior allowed a couple of runs in the first two innings.

Tennessee had a chance to tie the game in the ninth inning, but the opportunity was squashed by a groundout and then a strikeout to end the contest.

Tennessee drops it’s second straight to GCU

The Vols then dropped a close game against Grand Canyon, losing 4-3.

Chase Burns got the start. He pitched 4.2 innings allowing just three hits, six strikeouts and two earned runs.

The game started slow for the Vols after beginning down 1-0. In the fourth inning, Cal Stark hit the Vols’ first home run of the new season smashing a two-run shot into left field, giving the Vols a 2-1 lead.

Then, Christain Moore hit a two-out RBI single in the fifth inning to bring Jared Dickey home and extend the lead to 3-1 heading into the sixth inning.

However, Charlotte transfer Andrew Lindsey gave up two unearned runs on two throwing errors by the defense. The two late errors in the sixth and seventh innings proved costly as the Vols lost 4-3.

Vols earn first win of the season over UC San Diego

The Vols leave Arizona with a 7-0 victory against UC San Diego — a much-needed win after a rocky weekend.

Sophomore pitcher Drew Beam picked up the win after pitching six innings and allowing only three hits with six strikeouts.

The offense started the scoring party in the fourth inning. After smashing a triple, Blake Burke was sent home on an RBI single from Denton. Denton was sent home a couple of batters later by Kyle Booker.

The explosive bats of Tennessee came to play. Burke and Moore both hit solo shots with Burke’s coming in the sixth inning and Moore’s in the seventh.

The Vols left this seventh inning with four more runs. Ethan Payne was the first runner driven home by Jaslove, followed by Christain Scott and Jaslove, who scored on a wild pitch. Then came Moore’s slam.

Tennessee finished with ten hits including three of them for extra bases. After an error-filled weekend, the Vols did not commit a single error in Sunday’s shutout win.

Up next

Tennessee will start its month-long home stint at Lindsey Nelson Stadium on Tuesday and Wednesday against Alabama A&M at 4:30 p.m. ET.

The Vols then kick off their weekend series against Dayton on Friday.

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