Stats/Story: Denton Hits for the Cycle as #2/3 Vols Hammer Morehead State

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KNOXVILLE, Tenn. – The fifth cycle in Tennessee baseball history and a record-tying seven home runs helped the second-ranked Volunteers bounce back from Tuesday’s midweek loss in emphatic fashion with a 23-4 victory over Morehead State in Friday night’s series opener at Lindsey Nelson Stadium.

Senior third baseman Zane Denton led the offensive explosion with a career high four hits and six RBIs while becoming just the fifth player in program history to hit for the cycle, joining Trey Lipscomb (Feb. 25, 2022), Jordan Rodgers (April 1, 2016), Matt Duffy (March 9, 2011) and Chris Burke (May 11, 2001).

Denton got UT (12-3) on the board with an RBI double to open the scoring in the first inning before homering in his second at-bat with a solo blast in the bottom of the third. The Brentwood, Tennessee, native drove in two more runs with a single in the fifth before completing the cycle with a two-run triple to left center in the bottom of the sixth.

The Vols scored in each of the first seven innings that they came to the plate, including a five-run fifth that featured four home runs to break the game wide open. Eight different players had at least one RBI in the game for Tennessee, including seven Vols with multiple runs batted in.

Maui AhunaJared Dickey and Kavares Tears also had big nights at the dish for the Big Orange, as all three hit home runs while tallying multiple hits and RBIs. Dylan Dreiling and Christian Scott both hit their first long balls of the season, as well, to help the Vols tie the single-game program record for homers.

Ahuna had his best game as a Vol, reaching base in all six of his plate appearances. The junior shortstop recorded his first-career multi-homer game while setting a career high with five runs scored and tying a career best with five RBIs.

Tears got the chance to make his first career start and made the most of the opportunity, going 3-for-4 with two runs scored and two RBI to go along with a mammoth 420 blast in third inning, his first four bagger at the collegiate level.

Chase Dollander put together another quality start on the mound to earn his third straight victory and improve to 3-1 on the year. The junior right hander struck out 11 in 5.2 innings while allowing two runs on three hits and three walks. Dollander has recorded double-digit strikeouts in each of his last three starts, marking the first time in his career that he’s done so.

Nick Gooden drove in two of the Eagles’ four runs on the night with a two-run homer in the fourth inning. MSU (9-5) starting pitcher Luke Helton fell to 2-2 on the year after allowing 10 runs on eight hits in just 2.1 innings pitched.

UP NEXT: The Vols will look to secure the series on Saturday, which will now feature a doubleheader due to projected inclement weather throughout the day on Sunday.

Game 1 of Saturday’s twin billing will begin at 2 p.m. ET with game two scheduled to begin at 6 p.m. Both games will be streamed live on SEC Network+ and the ESPN app. Gates for Saturday’s doubleheader will open one hour prior to first pitch (1 p.m.) instead of the normal two hours before.

Ticket Info: Tickets for Saturday’s originally scheduled game will be good for Game 1 of the doubleheader while tickets for Sunday’s originally scheduled game will be valid for Game 2 of the doubleheader. 

-UT Athletics

Vols 3B Zane Denton / Credit: UT Athletics

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