PENSACOLA, Fla. — Tennessee picked up a doubleheader sweep on Saturday to finish the Cox Diamond Invitational with a perfect 3-0 record.
The Vols earned wins over North Florida (10-2) and Western Kentucky (6-3) to improve to 12-0 on the season, tying the program record for the best start in program history, matching the 2014 team’s historic start.
GAME 2: Tennessee 6, Western Kentucky 3 (7 Inn.)
Tennessee scored all six of its runs in the second inning to finish off a perfect weekend with a 6-3 victory over Western Kentucky on Saturday night.
Seven of UT’s starters recorded a hit in the win with Evan Russell leading the way, finishing with two hits, including his team-leading seventh double of the year.
The Hilltoppers struck first with a two-out RBI single by Jackson Swiney in the top of the second. Matt Phipps scored on the play after leading off the inning with a single and stealing second to move into scoring position.
The Vols didn’t waste any time erasing the deficit as Luc Lipcius continued his huge day with a mammoth three-run homer to right-center field to put the Big Orange ahead 3-1. It was the second homer of the day for Lipcius and his third of the year. The junior slugger went 3-for-6 with four runs, two homers and four RBI combined in UT’s two wins on Saturday.
The Orange and White took advantage of two throwing errors by the Hilltoppers’ catcher to score three more runs in the inning and take a commanding 6-1 lead.
WKU chipped away at the lead with a pair of solo home runs by Davis Sims and Jake Sanford in the third and sixth innings but were held at bay for the most part by Vols’ starter Will Neely.
The senior right hander earned his second win of the year and tied a career high with six strikeouts on the night. The Knoxville native allowed three runs on five hits and walked one in six innings of work.
Redshirt sophomore lefty Redmond Walsh worked around a leadoff single in the seventh to earn his third save of the season.
VOLS TIE BEST START IN PROGRAM HISTORY: With Saturday’s doubleheader sweep, Tennessee improved to 12-0 to start the year. That is tied for the best record to start a season in program history, matching the 2014 squad’s 12-0 start.
Tennessee has been dominant during its 12-game winning streak, posting six shutouts and outscoring its opponents 82-12.
LIPCIUS TWINS LEADING THE WAY: Twin brothers Luc and Andre Lipcius have been two of the Vols most productive hitters so far this season. The Lipcius twins are tied for the team lead with 10 RBI apiece while Luc leads the team with three home runs and Andre is tied for second with two four baggers.
After having just three hits and scoring only four runs last season, Luc has been on an absolute tear to start the season. The Williamsburg, Va., native currently leads the team with three homers, 10 RBI and ranks second on the squad with 11 runs and 12 hits with a slash line of .324/.435/.703.
UP NEXT: The Big Orange continue their road trip with another neutral-site game on Tuesday against Troy in Hoover, Ala. The Vols and Trojans will face off at the Hoover Met, which is the site of the SEC Tournament every year. First pitch is slated for 7:05 p.m. ET.