#1 VOLS SLUG THEIR WAY PAST #22 SOUTHERN MISS TO ADVANCE TO FOURTH STRAIGHT SUPER REGIONAL
Courtesy / UT Athletics

#1 VOLS SLUG THEIR WAY PAST #22 SOUTHERN MISS TO ADVANCE TO FOURTH STRAIGHT SUPER REGIONAL

Game Recap: Baseball | June 02, 2024

KNOXVILLE, Tenn. – For the fourth consecutive season, Tennessee captured an NCAA Regional title and secured a spot in the super regionals after slugging its way past No. 22/23 Southern Miss, 12-3, in Sunday’s regional final at a sold-out Lindsey Nelson Stadium.

The top-ranked Volunteers hit five home runs to surpass their single-season program record of 158 set just two years ago in 2022. A pair of Cal Stark blasts in the fifth and ninth innings bookended UT’s long ball onslaught, with the latter being the record-breaking 159th of the year for the Big Orange.

Stark finished 2-for-4 with a pair of runs and four RBIs to lead Tennessee’s offense while Dylan Dreiling had another strong performance as well with two hits, including a home run, and three runs scored.

The Vols (53-11) also got multi-hit performances from Hunter Ensley and Dean Curley, who finished with two apiece. Curley hit his second homer in as many days with a two-run shot in the seventh inning to double UT’s lead.

Kavares Tears’ lone hit of the night was the biggest of the game, as he launched a three-run homer over the wall in right-center field to give Tennessee a 5-3 lead shortly after it had fallen behind 3-2 in the bottom of the fifth. Tears also drew three walks and scored three times on the night.

Zander Sechrist provided the Vols with another solid start, allowing three runs – all of which were unearned – on four hits over 4.2 innings before handing the ball off to Nate Snead, who pitched the final 4.1 innings to earn the win. Snead gave up just three hits and didn’t allow a run while striking out three batters.

Reliever Chandler Best was stuck with the loss for the Golden Eagles (43-20) after getting tagged for four runs in 1.2 innings of work.

Tennessee had six players voted to the Knoxville All-Regional Team, led by Dreiling, who was also named the Most Outstanding Player. Joining Dreiling on the all-regional team were Stark (C), Christian Moore (2B), Billy Amick (3B), Ensley (CF) and AJ Causey (P). The full Knoxville All-Regional Team can be seen HERE.

STATS OF THE GAME: With Sunday’s victory, the Vols extended their NCAA Regional win streak to 12 straight games. Tennessee has won four consecutive NCAA regionals (2021, 2022, 2023, 2024) while going unbeaten in that stretch.

UT has also won six consecutive NCAA regionals played in Knoxville (1995, 2001, 2005, 2021, 2022, 2024), going 22-1 overall in those games. Head coach Tony Vitello now boasts a 14-2 overall record in NCAA regional games since taking over on Rocky Top.

UP NEXT: Tennessee will host the winner of the NCAA Greenville Regional final between No. 16 national seed East Carolina and Evansville. The Pirates and Purple Aces will play a decisive game seven on Monday.

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