Tuesday April 23rd, 2024 10:34PM

No. 5 Vols even series with No. 22 Georgia

By AccessWDUN Staff

KNOXVILLE, TENN. — Fifth-ranked Tennessee hit two grand slams to even an SEC series with 22nd-ranked Georgia Saturday, posting a 16-11 win in front of a record crowd of 5,677 fans at Lindsey Nelson Stadium.
 
The Vols (23-5, 4-4 SEC) grabbed a 3-0 lead in the first on a three-run home run by Dylan Dreiling off sophomore Leighton Finley. The Bulldogs (22-5, 4-4 SEC) responded in the third, sending 13 men to the plate as part of a seven-run outburst on seven hits including six coming with two outs. With one out, senior Corey Collins drew a walk. All-America Charlie Condon (career-high 5-for-6, 2 home runs, 3 RBI), the NCAA leader in batting, home runs and slugging percentage, blasted a two-run home run out of the park for his 18th of the year. Condon’s home run went 411 feet with an exit velocity of 109 miles per hour (mph). He would add a solo shot in the ninth to give him 44 career home runs in this his second season.
 
After UT right-hander Drew Beam retired junior Slate Alford, Georgia struck for five more runs in the third. Graduate Dylan Goldstein reached with a double and graduate Paul Toetz tied the game with a run-scoring double. Senior Fernando Gonzalez put Georgia in front with an RBI-single. Graduate Clayton Chadwick reached on an error and senior Sebastian Murillo crushed a three-run home run to cap the scoring with a 7-3 advantage. After two more Bulldogs reached, UT lifted Beam in favor of Kirby Connell.
 
UT got a run back with a solo home run by Blake Burke, his 10th of the season and looked for more. Robin Villeneuve followed and reached on a four-pitch walk. Then, Kavares Tears lined a missile headed up the middle with an exit velocity of 110 miles per hour that was snagged by Murillo who fired to Kolby Branch and then to Collins to complete a double play. Dreiling followed with a deep shot to center that Condon tracked down at the wall to end further damage. In the fifth with two on and nobody out, Georgia went to the bullpen in sophomore Kolten Smith.
 
In the fourth, Goldstein was hit by a Connell offering and then came around to score on an RBI-double by Toetz to make it 8-4. In the bottom of the fifth, the Vols grabbed a 10-4 lead with a six-run outburst highlighted by a grand slam by Dreiling. In the seventh, Georgia tied the contest with a two-run home run by Branch, his seventh of the year. UT answered with another six-run inning including a grand slam, this one from Dalton Bargo, to build a 16-10 lead after seven innings. In the ninth, Condon crushed his second home run of the game, this one off Nate Snead who hit triple digits during his 1.1 innings. Condon’s 19th home run of the year went off the batter’s eye and measured 413 feet with an exit velocity of 111 mph.
 
“We did a lot of uncharacteristic things tonight,” said Georgia’s Ike Cousins head baseball coach Wes Johnson. “We had some baserunning mistakes. We walked eight. We had a defensive play where we didn’t slow the game down. We let them speed us up a couple times defensively on a couple of plays and that ended up costing us. That’s going to happen when you play good teams if you don’t make plays. You give them freebies and eventually they’re going to run into a ball here and there and that was the difference in the game. We have to execute better than we did tonight. It’s tough to play on the road in this league. We’ll get back on the horse tomorrow. It’s a new day and we’ll be ready to compete.”
 
Connell picked up the win with five innings of relief to improve to 3-0. Smith fell to 2-2.

The rubber game of the series will be Sunday with first pitch at 2:02 p.m. The game will be available on the SEC Network and the Georgia Bulldog Sports Network.

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