#1 VOLS OPEN NCAA TOURNAMENT RUN WITH 9-3 WIN OVER NKU
Courtesy / UT Athletics

#1 VOLS OPEN NCAA TOURNAMENT RUN WITH 9-3 WIN OVER NKU

Game Recap: Baseball | May 31, 2024

KNOXVILLE, Tenn. – No. 1/1 Tennessee took care of business in its NCAA regional opener, defeating Northern Kentucky, 9-3, in front of a record crowd of 6,396 on Friday night at Lindsey Nelson Stadium.

The Volunteers (51-11) found themselves in an early hole after Norse leadoff hitter Cleary Simpson started the game with a solo home run to put them ahead 1-0.

AJ Causey was able to steady the waters after quickly entering the game in relief of starter Chris Stamos with one out in the first inning, stranding a runner on third to end the frame.

The Harvest, Alabama, native put together another dominant outing out of the bullpen, striking out nine batters over 6.2 innings while allowing just two runs on four hits against one of the nation’s most productive lineups.

After falling behind 1-0, UT scored runs in the second, third and fourth innings to build a 6-1 lead. Billy Amick’s three-run homer in the bottom of the fourth was the biggest swing of the night for the Big Orange and ended up being the game-winning hit.

After NKU (35-23) plated a run in the sixth and seventh inning to draw within three, the Vols responded with a pair of long balls from Hunter Ensley and Dylan Dreiling to put the game away.

Dreiling led all players with three hits to go along with a pair of RBIs while Amick scored three times to go along with his team-high three RBIs. Christian Moore also added another multi-hit game to his resume with a single and a double in the victory.

Kirby Connell, making the 120th appearance of his career, didn’t allow a hit over the final two innings to quell any thought of a Norse comeback.

UP NEXT: Tennessee will take on Indiana on Saturday night at 6 p.m. on ESPNU in the winner’s bracket game. The winner will advance to the regional final while the loser will have to play in an elimination game on Sunday at noon.

STATS OF THE GAME: Causey picked up his 12th win of the season with his performance on Friday night, which is tied for the fifth most in a single season in program history with Chris Freeman (1993). The junior righthander is the first Vol to reach the 12-win mark since Luke Hochevar tied the program record with 15 in 2005.

Amick’s three-run homer was his 20th of the season, joining Moore as Vols with 20 or more home runs this year, marking the first time in program history UT has had multiple players reach the 20-homer mark in the same season.

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