Vols pull ahead in early innings, hand Golden Eagles 9-3 loss in Knoxville

Vols pull ahead in early innings, hand Golden Eagles 9-3 loss in Knoxville

KNOXVILLE, Tenn. -- P.J. Polk drove in four runs in the first three innings as Tennessee took an early lead and held off Tennessee Tech Tuesday night on the way to a 9-3 non-conference victory in Lindsey Nelson Stadium.

Tennessee (12-13) snapped a three-game losing skid while the Golden Eagles (11-14) lost their third in a row. Tech heads to Jacksonville State this weekend looking to turn the tide with a three-game Ohio Valley Conference series against the Gamecocks.

Polk had an RBI single in the second inning then delivered a three-run home run in the third as Tennessee raced out to a 9-1 lead.  Four Tech pitchers combined to hold the Vols scoreless through their final five innings at the plate, but the damage had been done.

Polk started the rally in the first inning with a leadoff single, but the Golden Eagles nearly escaped the inning without any damage. After the Vols loaded the bases with nobody out, Tech turned a double play, including Polk at home plate on the front end, but Josh Liles spoiled things when he followed with a two-run single for a 2-0 lead.

Tech got one run back in the second as Seth Edwards singled and stole second, and eventually scored when Michael Morris ripped a two-out double.

A walk and a one-out single got UT started in the second on the way to four runs and a 6-1 lead. Polk delivered an RBI single for the first run and Zach Osborne stole home for the second run. The other two runs scored on a ground out and a Tech throwing error.

Matt Ramsey and Osborne singled to open the third inning and Polk bashed a three-run home run to left center field, his third of the season, to make it a 9-1 lead.

The Golden Eagles got a single run in the fifth as Frankie Beech singled and raced to third on Chad Oberacker’s double. Austin Wulf’s sacrifice fly to right field scored Beech. A.J. Kirby-Jones drew his second walk of the night to put a couple of runners aboard, but UT starter Aaron Tullo got out of the inning with a groundout.

Edwards led off the Tech sixth with a double to left center, his second hit of the game, and stole third. From there he scored on an RBI groundout by Zephen Guyear to finish the scoring.

Tullo (1-0) got the win, his first of the season after working five innings and allowing two runs on five hits. He walked two and struck out four.

Oberacker (0-2) was charged with the loss. He pitched 1 2/3 innings and allowed six runs on seven hits while walking two. Ryan Hopkins worked 1 1/3 innings, allowing three runs on three hits with two strikeouts.

Nick Price pitched two strong, scoreless innings. The only base runner reached on an error and he struck out two.  Chason Choate worked the sixth inning and faced a dilemna after a pair of one-out singles and an error loaded the bases, but he coaxed a double-play grounder to snuff the threat.

Wade Bilbrey got the call to the hill in the seventh and mowed the Vols down in order. Kirby-Jones sailed through the eighth inning unscathed, with one base runner who reached on an error.  He struck out two.