KNOXVILLE, Tenn. -- The No. 3 Texas A&M Aggies earned a series sweep of the Tennessee Volunteers with Sunday's 8-7 win at Lindsey Nelson Stadium. The victory marked the 400th career win for Aggie head coach Rob Childress.
Texas A&M (41-7) moved into a tie with LSU atop the SEC Western Division at 16-7 in league play. The two squads sit a half-game behind Vanderbilt who improved to 17-7 after Sunday's action.
The Aggies pounded out 13 hits paced by Logan Taylor who batted 4-for-5 with one double, one run and two RBI. Blake Allemand hit 3-for-4 with one hit-by-pitch and three runs. Mitchell Nau and JB Moss added two RBI apiece.
Texas A&M pounced on the Volunteers for two runs in the top of the first inning. Allemand was hit by a pitch and Ryne Birk drew a walk to start the frame. After Nau lined out to rightfield, Taylor rattled a hit in the corner down the leftfield line for a double, plating both runners to stake the Aggies to a 2-0 lead.
Tennessee (18-24, 7-17 SEC) wrangled the lead from Texas A&M in the bottom of the fourth on the back of five hits, including four extra-base hits. Christin Stewart hit a first-pitch offering from Aggie starter Kyle Simonds towards the scoreboard in rightfield for a leadoff home run. After Andrew Lee flied out for the first out of the inning, AJ Simcox scooted a ball between centerfielder Moss and rightfielder Nick Banks to the wall for a triple. With the infield drawn in, Jordan Rodgers golfed a Texas Leaguer over the head of second baseman Ryne Birk for a game-tying single.
Chris Hall drew a four-pitch walk and Benito Santiago pushed both runners into scoring position with a sacrifice bunt. Parker Wormsley punched a gapper into left-center for a two-run double, giving the Vols a 4-2 lead. Hunter Senzel laced a double down the leftfield line, knocking in Wormsley and driving Simonds from the game with Tennessee holding a 5-2 advantage.
The Aggies clipped two runs off the Vols' lead in the top of the fifth. With one out, Allemand slapped a double to left-center. He came around to score when Tennessee first baseman Wormsley threw wide of first on a grounder by Birk. The error put Birk on second and he came around to score when Nau slapped a single back up the middle, cutting the Volunteers' lead 5-4.
Texas A&M reclaimed the lead with four runs in the top of the seventh. With one out, Allemand poked a single up the middle and Birk drove a single into left-center to put runners at the corners and drive Tennessee starting pitcher Drake Owensby from the contest. Nau sent the equalizer home with a sacrifice fly to the centerfielder. Taylor reached on an infield single to short and Banks hit an opposite single to knock in Birk with the go-ahead run. Hunter Melton drew a five-pitch walk to fill the bags with Ags and JB Moss drove a 1-1 offering up the middle, sending in two runs for an 8-5 lead.
The Volunteers clipped a run off the lead in the home half of the seventh when Lee hit a solo home run to rightfield, closing the gap to 8-6.
Tennessee mounted another rally in the bottom of the eighth. Wormsley reached on his third hit of the game, a single to centerfield off Ty Schlottmann to start the inning. Schlottmann was replaced by Mark Ecker who issued back-to-back walks to Senzel and Jared Pruett to load the bases. Matt Kent entered the game to face Stewart who trimmed the Aggie margin to 8-7 with a single to rightfield. Kent rebounded to induce a 1-2-3 double play off the bat of Lee. After intentionally walking Simcox, Kent ended the frame by getting Rodgers to line out to third base.
Kent allowed a leadoff single in the ninth, but a sacrifice bunt, groundout to third and fly out to centerfield ended the game.
Simonds yielded five runs on eight hits and one walk while striking out one in 3.2 innings.
Andrew Vinson (4-1) picked up the win in relief. He allowed one run on three hits and one walk while striking out one in 2.2 innings. For the second consecutive game, Kent earned the save. He scattered two hits and one walk over 2.0 innings.
Drake Owensby (2-6) was saddled with the loss. He yielded six runs, five earned, on nine hits and one walk while striking out four in 6.1 innings.
The Aggies return to Olsen Field at Blue Bell Park to wrap up their regular-season home slate on Friday. They host the South Carolina Gamecocks in a three-game series.