HOOVER, Ala. — Tennessee is officially off to its best start in program history at 13-0 after a midweek rout of Troy on a cold Tuesday night in the third annual Hoover Classic at Hoover Metropolitan Stadium.
The 21st-ranked Volunteers busted open a close game with seven combined runs in the sixth and seventh innings and went on to win the game 11-2, finishing with a season-high 13 hits.
Five Vols posted multi-hit games, led by a 4-for-5 performance from junior shortstop Ricky Martinez. Jay Charleston and Andre Lipcius had two RBI apiece while Luc Lipcius had another huge day at the plate with two hits, two runs and three RBI.
Freshman catcher Connor Pavolony had a career night as well, going 2-for-3 with three runs scored and an RBI double while junior leadoff man Justin Ammons extended his on-base streak to 13 games after getting two hits and scoring three runs.
Sean Hunley earned his third win in as many starts after giving up two runs on five hits in five innings. Four true freshmen – Camden Sewell, Chase Silseth, Tanner Kohlhepp and Elijah Pleasants – combined to throw four shutout innings out of the bullpen, allowing just one hit.
After a scoreless first inning, the Vols jumped on Trojans’ starter Sadler Goodwin for two runs on three hits in the top of the second.
Alerick Soularie led off the inning with a walk and scored from first on a double over the left fielder’s head by Pavolony one batter later. Martinez reached on a bunt single to put runners on the corners for Luc Lipcius, who delivered with an RBI single to put UT ahead 2-0.
The Trojans answered back immediately with two runs of their own in the bottom of the second. Austin Garofalo got Troy on the board with an RBI single before Manning Early drove in the tying run with a bases-loaded sacrifice fly two batters later.
Charleston reached on an error by the third baseman to lead off the fifth and made the Trojans pay for their mistake. The SEC leader in stolen bases promptly stole second and came around to score what turned out to be the game-winning run on an RBI groundout by Evan Russell later in the inning.
The Big Orange extended their lead with three runs in the top of the sixth, all with two outs. A bases-loaded walk by Charleston brought in the first run before a Texas leaguer by Andre Lipcius plated two more runs to put UT up 6-2.
Tennessee continued to pour it on in the seventh, putting up a four spot in the inning. Luc Lipcius just barely missed hitting his fourth home run of the season with a two-run triple off the top off the wall in right center. Jake Rucker brought home Lipcius with an RBI groundout and Charleston capped the scoring in the inning with an RBI double to left center to make it 10-2.
An RBI groundout by freshman Trey Lipscomb in the top of the ninth finished off the scoring on the night. It was the first-career RBI for Lipscomb.
VOLS 6-7-8 HITTERS SHINE IN WIN: The bottom half of UT’s lineup was almost unstoppable on Tuesday night. The 6-7-8 hitters of Connor Pavolony, Ricky Martinez and Luc Lipcius combined to go 8-for-11 with three doubles, a triple, six runs and four RBI in the win. Pavolony set new career highs with two hits and three runs while Martinez also set a career best with four hits.
ANOTHER SCORELESS OUTING FOR BULLPEN: Tennessee’s bullpen has been lights out this season and Tuesday was no exception. Four true freshmen relievers combined to throw four shutout innings, allowing just one hit and two walks. The bullpen has allowed only one run and 10 hits while striking out 55 in 54.0 innings of work this season.
UP NEXT: The Vols are back home this weekend to host Fresno State for three games at Lindsey Nelson Stadium. First pitch for Game One is set for 6:30 p.m. on Friday night. All three games will be streamed live online via SEC Network+ and the WatchESPN app.