Vols Sweep Doubleheader to Complete Series Sweep over Alabama

Tennessee took both games of its Sunday doubleheader against rival Alabama to complete its first SEC series sweep since 2015 against Mississippi State.

The Volunteers received two complete-game performances from Garrett Stallings and Will Neely to improve to 16-9 overall and 4-2 in SEC play this season, which is the team’s best start to conference play since also going 4-2 over the first six league games in 2008.

Both of Sunday’s games will limited to seven innings. Recaps from each game can be found below.

Game 1: UT 2, Alabama 1
A complete-game performance from Garrett Stallings and another game-winning RBI walk for Evan Russell led Tennessee to a 2-1 comeback victory over Alabama in game one of Sunday’s doubleheader at Lindsey Nelson Stadium.

In a shortened seven-inning game, the Crimson Tide took a 1-0 lead in the fifth before the Vols rallied to score twice in the bottom of the sixth and held on for the win to secure the series victory.

Stallings got his sixth start of the year for UT and went all seven innings to record his second complete game of the season. The sophomore right hander allowed just one unearned run on six hits and gave up just two hits after the second inning.

The Crimson Tide took advantage of a defensive miscue by the Vols to open the scoring in the top of the fifth to score its only run of the game.

With two outs and a runner on first, Alabama’s Keith Holcombe hit a ground ball to the grass in right field that was fielded by Jay Charleston, who opted to throw to third to try and get the lead runner. Charleston’s throw sailed high and went out of play, allowing pinch runner Connor Stutts to score and give the Tide a 1-0 lead.

After UT tied the game on a ground ball earlier in the inning, Russell was the hero yet again as he drove in the game-winning run with a bases-loaded walk for the second straight game. Stallings worked around a leadoff single in the seventh to secure the win and improve to 4-1 on the year.

Game 2: UT 3, Alabama 0
Junior pitcher Will Neely threw a complete-game shutout in game two of Sunday’s doubleheader to lead the Vols to a 3-0 win and a series sweep over the Crimson Tide.

The series sweep is the first in SEC play for Tennessee since May of 2015, when the Vols swept Mississippi State to wrap up the regular season.

For Neely, it was the second complete-game of the season and the first complete-game shutout of his career. The Knoxville native allowed just five hits and struck out four to improve to 3-1 on the year.

Andre Lipcius went 2-for-3 and scored a run while Benito Santiago and Justin Ammons both drove in runs with RBI singles to lead the offense.

The Big Orange jumped out to an early lead with two runs in the bottom of the first when Santiago drove in Jay Charleston with a single up the middle. Lipcius came all the way around from first to score on the play after the ball got under Joe Breaux’s glove and rolled all the way to the wall in center field.

UT added an extra insurance run in the bottom of the sixth when Ammons singled to right field to score Russell and put the Vols ahead 3-0 heading into the final inning.

Neely retired the Tide in order in the seventh, striking out Keith Holcombe swinging to finish the game.

Walk It Out       
Vols’ freshman Evan Russell drove in the game-winning runs in Friday’s series opener and the first game of today’s doubleheader, both via bases-loaded walks.

Going the Distance
With two more complete games today, Tennessee’s starting pitchers have now thrown five already this year, which is the most in a single season since VFL Zack Godley threw all six for the Vols back in 2013.

Both Garrett Stallings and Will Neely have now thrown two complete games this season. Neither had ever thrown one entering this year.

Spring Cleaning
With today’s two victories, the Vols recorded their first series sweep in SEC play since 2015, when they swept Mississippi State in the final series of the regular season. The Vols have now swept two opponents this year – Cincinnati being the other – marking the first time they have had a least two three-game series sweeps in a season since 2014.

Next Up
The Vols will play four games on the road next week starting with a midweek contest at Western Carolina on Tuesday at 5 p.m. ET, followed by three games at South Carolina on Thursday, Friday and Saturday.

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Source: University of Tennessee Athletics