ROUND ROCK, TX— Tennessee improved to 6-0 Saturday Afternoon following a strong showing against the University of Houston in the 2nd day of the Round Rock Classic. Tony Vitello’s Volunteers defeated the Cougars by a score of 8-4 in a match-up that was dominated by great batting.
The Volunteers first took the lead in the top of the 1st inning, when Jordan Beck ripped a low fastball to left-center field scoring two runs in the process. Alerick Soularie was then able to bring another run across home plate with an RBI groundout, giving the Big Orange a 3-0 advantage right off the bat heading into the bottom of the inning, where Chase Wallace impressed with a pair of strikeouts to conclude the 1st.
However, that early lead would be cut to 3-2 in the 4th inning, when Steven Rivas slammed a two-run home run over the fence. However, Wallace was able to earn two strikeouts in a row to escape the danger of losing the lead.
In the bottom of the 5th Houston managed to tie things up at 3, after Ryan Hernandez hit a double to right-field scoring Kobe Hyland in the process, leading Tony Vitello to end Wallace’s day and bring right-hander Jackson Leath onto the mound in hopes of ending the threat. Vitello’s move paid off immensely as he caught Tyler Bielamowicz looking at a low fastball, stranding the Cougars’ go-ahead runner at 3rd base.
However, in the 6th inning, Ian McMillin hit an infield single which — followed by an error on Andre Lipcius — allowed Lael Lockhard Jr. to cross home plate, giving Houston their first lead of the game. After giving up the run, Leath was able to strike-out Hyland on a change-up, which retired the side.
In the top of the 7th, Soularie was able to hit a single to right, leading to Connor Pavolony being brought in to pinch-hit — a decision that would be monumental for Tony Vitello. Pavolong — a catcher — hit a deep ball off of the center-field wall which scored 3-runs, giving the Volunteers a 6-4 lead heading into the 7th inning stretch. Leath then forced a 1-2-3 nning, sending the Vols back to the batter’s box for the 8th.
In the final inning, Tennessee was able to earn two runs with the help of Jake Rucker, followed by Jackson Leath ending the match-up with a strike-out. The game was the Vols’ 6th win on the season, and the 2nd in the last two days, as they earned a stunning victory over the top-ranked Red Raiders yesterday. Tennessee’s next game will come against Stanford tomorrow at 11:00ET, while the Cougars will meet up with Texas Tech in the afternoon to end the Round Rock Classic.