No. 1 Vols pull away from Bellarmine in midweek tilt
KNOXVILLE, Tenn. - No. 1 Tennessee used dominant early pitching and multi-hit performances from Jordan Beck and Jorel Ortega to get by Bellarmine Tuesday night at Lindsey Nelson Stadium, 9-3.
Beck and Ortega led Tennessee (34-3) offensively with two and three hits, respectively. Kyle Booker and Logan Steenstra, who were both inserted into the starting lineup Tuesday, had one hit each-recording three and two RBI apiece.
Starting pitcher Zander Sechrist, who retired all 13 batters that he faced in 4.1 innings of work, was credited with the win to improve his record to 3-0 on the year. Sechrist also struck out two batters.
Leading just 1-0 through four innings, Tennessee seized control of the game with a four-run fifth inning.
Coming to the plate with the bases loaded and two outs, Booker cleared the bases with a double to right center-driving home runs from Luc Lipcius, Beck and Ortega to give the Vols a 4-0 lead.
During the next at bat, Steenstra gave Tennessee its second consecutive extra base hit-driving in Booker with a double down the right field line that extended the Vols' lead to 5-0.
Bellarmine briefly threatened in the top of the sixth-the Knights got a three-run home run from Matt Higgins that cut the Tennessee lead to 5-3, and then subsequently loaded the bases with two outs. Mark McLaughlin struck out Bellarmine's Gabe Bratetic swinging to get the Vols out of the inning having avoided further damage.
Tennessee answered Bellarmine's only scoring spurt of the night with one run on an RBI double from Beck in the sixth and two more runs in the seventh-Lipcius scored from third on a wild pitch and Christian Moore drove in Trey Lipscomb with an RBI single.
Ortega, the reigning SEC Player of the Week, put the exclamation point on the win in the eighth inning with a home run to left field-his eighth of the season-giving Tennessee at least one home run in a game for the 32nd time in 37 games this season.
UP NEXT: Tennessee hits the road for the first time in three weeks this weekend, matching up with Florida for a three-game series. First pitch of Friday's series opener in Gainesville is set for 6:30 p.m. ET and will be available to watch on SEC Network+.