#7/8 VOLS RALLY IN SERIES FINALE TO COMPLETE SWEEP OF ILLINOIS
Courtesy / UT Athletics

#7/8 VOLS RALLY IN SERIES FINALE TO COMPLETE SWEEP OF ILLINOIS

Game Recap: Baseball | March 10, 2024

KNOXVILLE, Tenn. – No. 7/8 Tennessee rallied to complete the sweep of Illinois after falling behind 3-0 in Sunday’s series finale at Lindsey Nelson Stadium.

Clutch home runs from Hunter EnsleyBlake Burke and Robin Villeneuve, combined with a stellar relief outing from Nate Snead, helped the Volunteers battle back and extend their winning streak to 15 games.

The Fighting Illini (5-9) played well in the early going and went ahead 1-0 with a solo home run from Ryan Moerman in the second inning before adding to their lead with a pair of runs in the third inning to build a 3-0 advantage.

Illinois starter Jake Swartz was dominant over the first four innings, holding UT to just a single hit in that span until the Big Orange were finally able to break through with two solo home runs by Ensley and Burke in the bottom of the fifth to pull within a run.

After a pair of walks and a single to start the bottom of the sixth, Tennessee tied the game at three with a sacrifice fly from Dean Curley, but a double play ended the threat before they could take the lead.

It wasn’t long before UT (16-1) did finally pull ahead, plating five runs in the seventh to take control of the game. Following a pair of two-out walks from Dalton Bargo and Billy AmickKavares Tears doubled down the left-field line to bring in the go-ahead run.

After Dylan Dreiling drew another walk, Robin Villeneuve put the exclamation point on the victory with a grand slam over the left-field wall to give the Vols an 8-3 lead.

Despite running into a little bit of trouble in the eighth and ninth innings, Snead was able to work himself out of both jams to lock up the win and improve to 4-0 on the year. The sophomore righthander pitched six shutout innings out of the bullpen, scattering four hits while striking out five.

UP NEXT: Tennessee closes out its 15-game homestand with a midweek matchup against Eastern Kentucky on Tuesday night before hitting the road to open SEC play at Alabama next weekend.

STATS OF THE GAME:  Villeneuve’s big seventh-inning swing gave Tennessee’s its third grand slam of the week and second of the series. Curley hit one in Tuesday’s midweek win over Kansas State while Reese Chapman had one in Saturday’s win.

UT’s win streak is now tied for the third-longest in program history, matching the 15 straight victories the Vols posted to open the 2019 season.  

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