AUBURN, Ala. — A four-run fifth inning by No. 15 Auburn doomed No. 21 Tennessee in a 5-2 loss on Saturday night at Plainsman Park.
The Tigers scored four runs on three hits and three walks, all with two outs in the inning. Junior pitcher Zach Linginfelter was one out away from getting out of the jam, but an RBI single followed by a pair of walks kept the inning alive ended the night for the junior right hander.
Linginfelter was charged with his first loss of the season after allowing five runs (four earned) and giving up a season-high five walks in 4.2 innings.
Andre Lipcius led the Volunteers at the plate with a pair of hits to extend his hit streak to 14 games. Freshman Connor Pavolony also reached base twice with a walk and his first-career hit in SEC play, but the Big Orange struggled for the most part with just six total hits against Auburn’s pitchers.
After being shut out for the first time this season in Friday’s series opener, the Vols got on the board early on Saturday night with a solo home run by Pete Derkay in the bottom of the second. It was the second-career homer for the junior and his first since his freshman year.
The Tigers scratched across an unearned run in the bottom of the fourth to even things up. Will Holland scored from third on a fielder’s choice after leading off the inning with a walk. Lipcius fielded the ball cleanly at third but his throw home was in the dirt and allowed Holland to score.
Three walks cost the Vols dearly as Auburn scored four runs in the bottom of the fifth, all with two outs, to take a 5-1 lead. Matt Scheffler singled to shallow right field to bring home the go-ahead run before back-to-back walks loaded the bases and ended the night for Linginfelter as he was pulled in favor of lefty Redmond Walsh.
UT looked to be out of the inning when Lipcius fielded a ground ball off the bat of Rankin Woley and went to second for the force out. The runner was initially called out at second base, but the play was overturned after being reviewed. One batter later, Edouard Julien singled to right field to score two more runs and put the Tigers up by four.
Derkay nearly had his second home run of the night in the top of the sixth but the ball hooked just foul of the right-field foul pole. Derkay flied out to left field a few pitches later to end the inning as UT stranded a runner on second.
The Vols got a run back in the eighth on an RBI single by Alerick Soularie. The sophomore drove in Jay Charleston from second, who started a two-out rally with a single of his own two batters earlier.
Pavolony drew a two-out walk in the top of the ninth but Tigers’ reliever Elliott Anderson struck out Evan Russell one batter later to end the game and secure the series victory for Auburn.
Freshman Brooks Fuller earned his first-collegiate win after allowing just one run on two hits in 3.2 innings of relief. Fuller replaced Tigers’ starter Jack Owen, who looked to be pulled for medical reasons after he threw just two pitches in the top of the fifth inning.
DERKAY GOES YARD: Pete Derkay drove in Tennessee’s first run of the series with a no-doubt, solo home run into the visitor’s bullpen in right center. It was just the second-career long ball for Derkay and his first this season. The Acworth, Ga., native just missed a second home run in the top of the sixth on a ball that hooked just foul down the right-field line.
STRUGGLES ON THE PLAINS CONTINUE: Plainsman Park has not been a friendly venue to the Vols over the years as UT has won just three of their last 14 games there. With Saturday’s loss, the Big Orange have now dropped five straight series at Auburn.
UP NEXT: The Vols will look to salvage a game in tomorrow afternoon’s series finale. First pitch is slated for 2 p.m. ET and the game will be streamed online via SEC Network+ and the WatchESPN app. Fans can also listen to John Wilkerson call the action on the Vol Network radio broadcast (FM 99.1 / AM 990).