Comprehensive Scan of Top-Ranked Flights in the State of Mississippi
O: Kirby Connell (3-0)
L: Smith, Cade (4-4)
Tennessee totaled 49 wins in the 2022 regular season. The previous best playoff record in program history was a 45-11 mark set in 1994. The Volunteers also went 25-5 in Conference play. South East. UT is only the third team in league history to earn 25 conference wins.
Evan Russell highlighted the day with a scoring home run in the fifth inning, a solo shot that marked his 38and career explosion. With the big steal, Russell tied VFL Todd Helton for the program’s career home run record. The Tennessee safety net has homered 13 times this season, adding 42 RBIs. He is just one homer and an RBI away from matching his season-best in both categories.
The Vols trailed early as RJ Yeager hit a first home run, but that lead didn’t last long for Mississippi State (26-30, 9-21 SEC) as the SEC Player of the Year. Trey Lip Comb crushed her 21st homer of the year, a towering two-run outburst to left center in the top of the second inning that gave Tennessee a lead they would never relinquish.
Jorel Ortega added to the offensive showcase with another two-run homer in the third inning, his third big volley in an incredible streak for the second baseman. One round later, Tennessee executed a perfect delayed flight, thanks to Luc Lipciuswhich entered the count and opened a window for Seth Stephenson to go home from third base.
The Vols added two more runs on the offensive side with a two-run double RBI on the right field line by Drew Gilbert and an RBI pitch from Ortega, but it was yet another stellar outing from the junior bullpen Kirby Connell who stood out in the middle of the inning. The southpaw came in with the bases loaded in the fourth and blocked all three runners. The Blacksburg, South Carolina native pitched 2.2 perfect innings and struck out a Bulldog while earning his third win of the year.
Tennessee gave Mississippi State its third straight sweep weekend as the defending national champions failed to qualify for the SEC Tournament.
NEXT: Tennessee is preparing for the 2022 SEC Tournament where it will face Vanderbilt or Ole Miss at 4:30 p.m. CT / 5:30 p.m. ET on Wednesday, May 25 at Hoover Metropolitan Stadium in Hoover, Alabama. Tickets for the tournament are available for purchase by clicking here.
HISTORICAL WEEKEND: Tennessee won the program’s first-ever sweep in Starkville. The Vols had only had one three-game sweep of Mississippi State before this weekend, in 2015.
MISSISSIPPI (KINGS), IF YOU SEE WHAT I WANT: The Volunteers won road sweeps in both Ole Miss and Mississippi State in 2022. Tennessee’s last loss to a Mississippi State team came in 2019.
THE BEST OF BBCOR: Tennessee has hit 137 home runs this season, the most of any team in the BBCOR era that began in 2011.
LEAVE ANY DOUBT: At the end of the regular season, Tennessee held a 10-game lead in the SEC East Division.