W: Chase Burns (7-1)
L: Ryan Slater (2-2)
With the win, the Volunteers (35-3, 15-1 SEC) became only the second team in history to start Southeastern Conference play 15-1, joining UT’s 1951 College World Series team, which started and finished league play at 16-1 .
Chase Burns was back to his normal self on Friday night following a couple of disappointing outings the past two weeks. The freshman right hander allowed just two runs (one earned) in 6.1 innings, giving up just two hits and striking out five on the night to earn the win and improve to 7-1 on the year.
Trey Lipscomb, Jordan Beck and Cortland Lawson all had two hits for the Big Orange and combined to drive in six of the team’s eight runs. Lipscomb led the way with three RBIs, courtesy of a three-run blast in second inning.
After threatening in the top of the first but coming up empty, the Vols didn’t miss out on their chances in the second, tagging Gators’ starter Ryan Slater for seven runs on six hits to take a commanding 7-0 lead.
Christian MooreLawson and Beck all drove in runs with singles before Lipscomb provided the big blow with a no-doubt three-run homer onto the berm in left field, his 16th home run of the season.
Florida (23-25, 6-10 SEC) was aided by an error to scratch across a run in the third, but Burns was able to limit the damage with a pair of ground outs to end the inning. Tennessee regained its seven-run advantage in the fifth on a sacrifice fly by Lawson to make it 8-1.
UF plated its first and only earned run of the night on a leadoff solo home run from Mac Guscette in the bottom of the fifth, cutting its deficit to six.
Flamethrower Ben Joyce tossed 1.2 shutout frames with a pair of strikeouts in relief of Burns. Redmond Walsh made his 92nd career appearance, passing Andy Cox (91) to set a new program record, by retiring the Gators in order to shut the door in the ninth.
Tennessee will look to win the series tomorrow night. First pitch is set for 6:30 pm and the game will be streamed on SEC Network+ / ESPN app.
ELANDER AS ACTING HC: With Friday’s victory, Tennessee assistant coach Josh Elander improved to 4-0 as acting head coach for the Vols. Elander has served as acting head coach for each of the past three games and also led UT to a 5-3 win over Kentucky on May 6, 2018, as acting head coach.
LIPSCOMB GOES DEEP AGAIN: senior slugger Trey Lipscomb pulled even with Florida’s Jud Fabian for the SEC lead in home runs, blasting his 17th of the season. Lipscomb also had three RBIs on the night, giving him 60 for the year, which also leads the conference.