KNOXVILLE, Tenn. – No. 11/12 Tennessee opened its weekend series against No. 12/21 Texas A&M with a bang, posting a 10-4 victory over the Aggies in front of a sold-out Friday night crowd at Lindsey Nelson Stadium.
After struggling at the plate last weekend at Missouri, the Vols’ bats came out firing on Friday, tagging Aggies’ starter Nathan Dettmer for five runs in the first inning and nine total on the night as the Big Orange recorded their first SEC win and first victory over a ranked opponent this season.
Seven different Vols posted hits in the game, including a trio of multi-hit performances from Maui Ahuna (2-for-5, two runs), Jared Dickey (2-for-4, two runs, RBI) and Kavares Tears (2-for-2, BB, run, three RBIs).
Christian Moore also had a hit and drove in a pair of runs while Blake Burke broke out of his slump with two runs scored and a no-doubt home run in the seventh inning, his team-leading ninth of the season. Zane Denton and Hunter Ensley rounded things out with a hit and an RBI apiece.
Moore, Dickey, Tears and Ensley all had RBIs in the first inning as UT responded from falling behind 2-0 in the top of the frame with five runs in the bottom half to immediately take back momentum and control of the game.
Despite a shaky first inning, Chase Dollander put forth a gutsy performance on the mound to earn the win and improve to 4-2 on the year. The junior right hander looked stronger in each inning and finished the night with eight strikeouts in 6.2 innings while allowing three runs on three hits.
Dollander did not allow a hit after the third inning and retired the final nine batters he faced before making way for Seth Halvorsen, who gave up an unearned run but didn’t allow a hit over the final 2.1 innings to quell any comeback bid from the Aggies.
Jack Moss and Hank Bard had the only two RBIs on the night for Texas A&M (15-7, 1-3 SEC), which finished the game with just three total hits.
UP NEXT: Tennessee (17-6, 1-3 SEC) will look to take the series in game two, which is slated to begin at noon ET on Saturday. Fans can watch the game live on ESPN2 or listen on the Vol Network (FM 99.1/AM 990).