Courtesy / UT Athletics


Game Recap: Baseball | April 05, 2024

AUBURN, Ala. —  Despite a hot-start offensively and an inspiring showing from the bullpen, No. 4/4 Tennessee was unable to keep Auburn’s bats in check in the early innings and dropped Friday night’s series opener, 9-5, at Plainsman Park.

A pair of two-run homers from Kavares Tears and Christian Moore provided four of UT’s five runs over the first two innings, but missed opportunities came back to plague the Vols as they left the bases loaded in the second inning and were unable to capitalize in the third after getting two runners aboard with just one out.

The Tigers (18-11, 2-8 SEC) came out swinging, as well, quickly erasing a 3-0 deficit with five runs of their own in the bottom of the first inning and three more in the second to take an 8-5 lead they would not relinquish.

After the explosive start, the Big Orange struggled to find any kind of rhythm at the plate for the remainder of the night against Auburn’s bullpen, which did not allow a run and gave up just four hits over the final seven innings.

Carson Myers got the win after tossing 3.2 scoreless innings in relief of starter Dylan Watts before John Armstong finished the game with four shutout frames that included six strikeouts to pick up his second save of the season.

Tennessee’s bullpen was nearly as impressive, allowing only one run on four hits while totaling 11 strikeouts over 6.2 innings.

Aaron Combs posted his most impressive outing of the season, setting career highs with four innings pitched and six strikeouts to keep the Vols in the game. Veteran lefties Kirby Connell and Chris Stamos combined for five strikeouts and didn’t allow a run over the final 2.2 innings.

AJ Causey had a rough outing for the second straight weekend to fall to 5-2 on the year.

Blake Burke had the lone hit against Armstrong with a single in the ninth inning and finished with a team-high three hits to extend his hit streak to 20 consecutive games while also scoring and driving in a run with an RBI double in the first inning.

STAT OF THE GAME: After the two teams combined to score 13 runs in the first two innings, both bullpens were lights out after that. In 14.1 combined innings, relief pitchers for both sides combined to allow just eight hits and one run while striking out 21 batters.

UP NEXT: Like last weekend, Tennessee (24-6, 5-5 SEC) will look to rebound from a Friday-night loss and even the series on Saturday. First pitch for game two between the Vols and Tigers is slated for 4:30 p.m. ET on SEC Network+ and the ESPN app.

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