#5 Vols Roll Past Tide in SEC Opener, 11-3
Courtesy / UT Athletics

#5 Vols Roll Past Tide in SEC Opener, 11-3

TUSCALOOSA, Ala. – No. 5/5 Tennessee opened Southeastern Conference play in style with an 11-3 victory over No. 12/14 Alabama in Friday night’s series opener at Sewell-Thomas Stadium in Tuscaloosa.

The Big Orange blasted three more home runs and finished with six extra-base hits on the night as their potent lineup showed its impressive depth and power once again.

The duo of Blake Burke and Dylan Dreiling provided the early pop for the Vols while combining for five hits, three of them for extra bases, and a pair of two-run homers. Burke finished with a game-high three hits and two RBIs as the junior continued his hot hitting.

Kavares Tears added a third two-run blast for UT, extending his hitting streak to 17 games in the process. Billy Amick and Dalton Bargo also had two hits apiece while Bargo drove in two runs with a double in the fifth inning.

Starting pitcher AJ Causey continued his run of impressive outings, striking out eight batters while allowing just two runs on six hits over 6.2 innings to get the win and improve to 4-0 on the year.

The Alabama native gave up two solo home runs in the bottom of the first and had to work out of a bases-loaded jam in the second before settling in and retiring 15 of the final 17 batters he faced on the night.

With Tennessee trailing 2-1, Dreiling’s two-run homer in the top of the third gave the Vols a lead that they wouldn’t relinquish as they scored multiple runs in third, fourth, fifth and sixth innings to build a 10-2 advantage heading into the bottom of the sixth.

Ben Hess suffered the loss for the Crimson Tide after giving up four runs on two hits and five walks in 3.2 innings of work. TJ McCants and Ian Petrutz led Alabama at the plate with two hits and a solo home run each.

UP NEXT: Tennessee (18-1, 1-0 SEC) will look to keep its 17-game winning streak going and lock up a series win on Saturday when the two teams meet at 8 p.m. ET for game two of the weekend, which will be televised on the SEC Network.

STATS OF THE GAME: Friday’s win marked UT’s first over Alabama in a conference opener (previously 0-6) and helped the Big Orange improve to 13-17 all-time in SEC openers on the road.

The Vols’ 17-game winning steak now stands alone as the second longest in program history, trailing only the 2022 team’s 23-game streak from March 5 through April 10.

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