HOOVER, Ala. - In the latest game the team has played in the event, the top-ranked Tennessee Volunteers defeated LSU, 5-2, in Game 12 of the 2022 SEC Tournament, Friday night into Saturday morning at Hoover Metropolitan Stadium.
Tennessee (51-7) was powered by an incredible start from SEC Pitcher of the Year Chase Dollander. The right hander went 6.2 innings, striking out nine batters and allowing just four hits and one earned run in yet another stellar outing. Dollander stayed undefeated on the season, improving his record to 9-0 and came off the mound in the wee hours of the morning to a standing ovation and roaring crowd of 12,215.
No moment of the game was bigger than the fifth-inning showdown between LSU first baseman Tre' Morgan and Dollander. The Vols had committed two errors in the frame, one leading to an unearned run. Morgan, the Tiger cleanup man, stepped into the box and battled the sophomore for seven pitches, taking close offerings off the plate and fouling back pitcher's pitches. Dollander was determined to shut the door, rearing back and pumping 98 mph past the left handed sophomore to end the threat and halt their gaining momentum. LSU would not score after that inning.
The Vols offense opened the scoring in the home half of the first inning. Jordan Beck kicked off the night sending an opposite-field shot to the base of the wall in right field, plating Luc Lipcius. Beck then came home to score just a pitch later after LSU starter Ty Floyd skipped a fastball to the backstop.
In the second inning, UT would load the bases but just one run would come home as Beck drew a bases loaded walk to make it 3-0 early.
The game's offense would wrap up in the home half of the fifth when Tennessee countered LSU's two-run inning with a pair of its own runs. Lipcius led off the inning with an infield single and promptly stole second to get into scoring position for Drew Gilbert who would plate him almost instantly on a ground ball through the right side of the infield. Jorel Ortega would score Gilbert, roping a double down the left field line. That gave the Big Orange a 5-2 advantage that held for the final score.
Redmond Walsh came on in the eighth inning and locked down his seventh save of the season and 23rd of his career. The sixth-year man tied VFL Todd Helton for the program record in career saves in the six-out closeout.
WINNING WHILE AHEAD: Tennessee captured its 40th victory of the season when scoring first. Of the 58 games played UT has struck first in 46 of them, almost 80 percent of the time.
MORE RECORDS FALL: With 10 strikeouts in the game, the Volunteers have already broken the record for team strikeouts in a single season with 622, passing the 2021 team's tally of 617.
UP NEXT: Tennessee will face the winner of LSU and Kentucky at approximately 8 p.m. CT in the single-elimination semifinal.