KNOXVILLE, Tenn. – No. 3 Tennessee rode another strong performance from its pitching staff en route to a 4-1 victory over Dayton to clinch the series on Saturday evening at Lindsey Nelson Stadium.
The Vols’ pitchers combined to strike out 15 batters after finishing with 20 punchouts in game one on Friday. The Flyers (0-5) were held to just two hits on the day as the Big Orange won their fifth straight contest to improve to 5-2.
UT built an early lead, scoring three of its four runs in the first two innings before tacking on one more insurance run in the fourth, which proved to be more than enough for the pitching staff.
For the second straight day, Tennessee got a dominant outing on the mound from its starting pitcher. Chase Burns allowed just one run on two hits in 6.1 innings while racking up a career-high 12 strikeouts, topping his previous best of 11 last season at Ole Miss.
Fellow right hander Seth Halvorsen piggy-backed Burns and was equally as effective in 2.2 innings of relief to pick up his first-career save. The Minnesota native struck out three and retired all eight batters he faced to slam the door for the Vols.
The Vols were only able to muster five hits on what was a damp and chilly evening but were able to generate enough early offense to come away with the win.
Griffin Merritt got the scoring started with an RBI double in the first inning before UT plated two more runs in the second courtesy of a double by Austen Jaslove and a Christian Moore sacrifice fly. Moore drove in the Vols’ only other run of the game, singling down the right-field line in the bottom of the fourth to make it 4-1.
Tennessee nearly added to its lead in the seventh, but Jaslove was robbed of a hit and likely multiple RBIs on a diving stop by Dayton’s third baseman on a hard-hit ground ball down the line with the bases loaded to end the inning.
Jared Dickey and Blake Burke also had base hits for the Big Orange, with Burke’s coming off the bat at an impressive 107 miles per hour, while the team drew seven walks on the day.
UT will go for the series sweep on Sunday afternoon with first pitch slated for 1 p.m. Fans can watch the game live on SEC Network+ and the ESPN app or listen live on UTSports.com, the Tennessee Athletics Gameday App and the Varsity App.