KNOXVILLE, Tenn. - Dominant pitching and solo home runs from Max Ferguson and Liam Spence led Tennessee to a series-tying 3-1 win over Wright State Saturday at Lindsey Nelson Stadium.
Jackson Leath earned his team-leading fourth victory of the year after allowing just one unearned run on four hits in 4.2 innings of relief.
Junior left hander Garrett Crochet got the start for Tennessee (14-1) in what was his first appearance of the season. The preseason All-American went 3.1 innings, struck out six batters and surrendered only two hits.
Redmond Walsh came on in the ninth inning for the Vols to earn his second save of the season after striking out two batters.
After threatening in both the first and second innings and leaving a total of three runners on base, the Vols got on the board in the third when Ferguson homered over the right field wall to give the Vols a 1-0 advantage.
Tennessee's offense stayed quiet until the seventh inning, when the Big Orange took a 2-0 lead on another solo home run - this time from the junior Spence. The Geelong, Australia native's home run to left field marked his first of the season and made him the 14th Vol to go yard this season.
Trailing 2-0, Wright State (4-9) cut its deficit to one in the top of the eighth inning. With runners on first and third, Leath's pickoff attempt sailed wide of Luc Lipcius at first base, which allowed Gehrig Anglin to score from third on the errant throw.
After struggling throughout the game with runners in scoring position, freshman Drew Gilbert broke the trend with a clutch two-out single up the middle that drove in Lipcius from second base and padded Tennessee's lead to 3-1.
Wright State briefly threatened during its final opportunity in the ninth inning with a double from Konner Piotto, but two straight strikeouts from Walsh wrapped up the win for the Vols.
The Vols and Raiders will meet for the series finale on Sunday at Lindsey Nelson Stadium at 1 p.m.
Another Vol Goes Deep
Saturday's two-home run outing was Tennessee's 12th multi-home run game of the season and pushed the Vols' home run total to 27. Entering the weekend, Tennessee led the nation in total home runs. Spence's solo homer in seventh inning made him the 14th Vol to hit a home run this season.
Pitching Bounces Back
After UT's pitching staff surrendered a season-high 13 hits and five runs during Friday's loss, the Vols' trio of Crochet, Leath and Walsh combined to give up just seven hits and zero earned runs during Saturday's win.