COLUMBIA, Mo. - No. 5 Tennessee scored early and often to complete its sweep of Missouri with an 10-2 win on a chilly Sunday afternoon in Columbia.
Max Ferguson and Drew Gilbert powered the offense once again as the Volunteers cranked out 16 hits on the day.
Ferguson hit his seventh homer of the year, giving UT a 3-1 lead with a three-run shot in the second inning and it was all Vols from there. The Florida native finished with a pair of hits, two runs and three RBI while Gilbert added on to his impressive weekend by tying a career high with four hits and driving in two runs.
Blade Tidwell put forth one of his best outings of the season on the mound, allowing just one run on two hits in seven strong innings to improve to 6-2 on the year. The freshman from Loretto, Tennessee, finished with five strikeouts and did not allow a run after the first inning while retiring the final nine batters he faced.
After the Vols were unable to capitalize with the bases loaded in the top of the first, Mizzou (12-32 // 5-19 SEC) took a 1-0 lead in the bottom of the inning on a sacrifice fly from Andrew Keefer.
UT did not waste its chance to get on the board in the second, however, as Ferguson continued his monster weekend with a three-run homer to put the Vols up 3-1. It was the second home run of the series for the junior second baseman and his seventh hit of the weekend.
Gilbert and Evan Russell recorded a pair of hits in the third to extend the lead to 4-1. Gilbert led off the inning with a single and moved into scoring position on a wild pitch before scoring on a double to right center by Russell, who finished with a pair of doubles and two RBI.
Tennessee struck for three more runs in the fifth to up its lead to 7-1. Jake Rucker, Gilbert and Russell started the inning with three straight doubles to plate two runs before Jordan Beck drove in the third run of the frame with a sacrifice fly. UT continued to pour it on with another three-spot in the sixth to up its lead to nine.
Tigers' starter Zach Hise fell to 0-7 on the year after allowing six runs on eight hits three walks in four innings of work.
The Big Orange have now swept five series this year, their most in a single season since sweeping six opponents in 2004.
The Vols (37-11 // 17-7 SEC) return to Knoxville for four home games next week, starting with an in-state battle against Tennessee Tech on Tuesday at 6:30 p.m.
FERGIE FEELING GOOD: Junior second baseman Max Ferguson capped off a huge series with another impressive performance in Sunday's series finale. The Florida native finish the game 2-for-4 with a home run and three RBI. Ferguson totaled seven hits, five runs and six RBI this weekend against the Tigers and also hit a pair of homers in the series.
NOTABLE SEC BENCHMARKS: After completing the series sweep on Sunday, the Vols now sit at 17-7 in conference play, their best SEC record through 24 games since also going 17-7 in 1995. Tennessee has secured a winning record in league play for the first time since 2005 and has also recorded its most wins in SEC play since going 18-11 during that same season. UT has also won its first four SEC road series this year for the first time since 1994.
HIT PARADE: The Vols continued their hot hitting this weekend in Columbia, recording double-digit hits in all three games against the Tigers after racking up 16 hits on Sunday. Nine players finished with at least one hit in Sunday's victory.