Tennessee takes down Alabama
TUSCALOOSA, Ala. -- Tennessee came out on top of a back-and-forth battle against No. 22 Alabama on Saturday night, using a ninth-inning rally to move past the Tide, 6-3, in Game Two of a series finale doubleheader at Sewell-Thomas Stadium.
With the win, the Volunteers (14-9) move to 36-77 in their all-time series against Alabama and 2-4 in Southeastern Conference play this season.
In his first career start for the Big Orange, sophomore lefty Aaron Soto tossed a strong 4.1 scoreless innings, facing just 17 batters while striking out three vs. Alabama.
Offensively, the Vols combined for nine hits on the Tide led by seniors Vincent Jackson (1-for-4, 2 RBI) and Chris Hall (2-for-2, 2 RBI), who reached base in each of his five plate appearances including three walks.
For the third straight game, Tennessee struck first against the Crimson Tide and plated two quick runs in the first. UT pushed another run across in the second following back-to-back hits by Benito Santiago (2-for-5) and Hall, extending Tennessee's lead to 3-0. Each of the Vols' three runs were contributed as part of two-out rallies to begin the series finale.
The Vols protected their 3-0 lead into the sixth, before the Tide drove in one run kickstarted by a one-out triple from right fielder Chandler Taylor. With a single, a walk and a double into the left field corner, Alabama tied things up at 3-3 in the seventh.
The Vols battled back in the ninth, again with two outs working against them. Santiago punched a ball into shallow center field and hustled around the turn for a double. Hall then ripped an RBI-single through the right side to score Santiago and put UT ahead, 4-3.
Jackson then came up big for the Vols, blasting a two-run triple off of the right field wall to provide the insurance runs for Tennessee and lift them to a 6-3 final.
Eric Freeman (1.2 IP) entered the game in the fifth for Soto, inheriting a runner on first with one out before retiring his two batters faced. Will Neely threw 0.2 inning before lefty Zach Reid went 1.1 scoreless innings for the win.
In the ninth, Daniel Vasquez held the Tide, recording two strikeouts against his four batters faced to pick up his first career save.
Vol Baseball Quick Hits
- Tennessee featured a new lineup in Game Two vs. Alabama on Saturday, with Benito Santiago starting in right field at the leadoff spot and Derek Lance making his first start at second base.
- Alabama native Zach Reid was credited with his first career win for the Orange and White on Saturday, capturing it in his home state.
- Chris Hall established a new single-game career high with three walks in Saturday's series finale.
- With a single up the middle in the fifth inning, Jordan Rodgers recorded a hit in each game of the Alabama series in Tuscaloosa and has now reached base safely in 21 straight games.
- Saturday's attendance at Sewell-Thomas Stadium: 4,405
- On Deck of the Vols: Following their SEC series at Alabama, the Volunteers return home to Rocky Top to host Middle Tennessee State in midweek action on Tuesday, March 29 at 6 p.m. ET.