Vols Use Dominant Pitching Performance to Even Series with No. 5 Mississippi State

Vols RHP Zach Lingenfelter / Credit: UT Athletics

KNOXVILLE, Tenn. – A masterful pitching performance from the duo of Zach Linginfelter and Redmond Walsh led Tennessee to a 2-1 victory over No. 5 Mississippi State on Saturday night at Lindsey Nelson Stadium.

Pitching carried the night for both teams in a low-scoring affair. There were a just eight combined hits allowed in the game as Linginfelter and Bulldogs’ starter Peyton Plumlee were able to keep hitters off balance throughout the night.

Linginfelter was dominant from the start for the Vols, holding MSU to just five hits and one run in 6.2 innings of work. The junior also added three strikeouts on the evening and scattered five hits to earn his fifth win of the year.

Walsh came in for Linginfelter with two outs and the tying run on base in the seventh. The Alcoa high school product struck out the Bulldogs’ best hitter in Jake Mangum to end the threat. Walsh went on to retire the side in order in the eighth and ninth innings to shut the door and earn his fourth save on the year.

Plumlee had a solid outing as well, allowing only two runs on two hits in 5.1 innings of work while adding three strikeouts on the night.

After three scoreless innings to open the game, the Bulldogs got the scoring started with a single up the middle by Justin Foscue to drive in Elijah MacNamee from second.

The Volunteers scored their first and only two runs of the game on a bizarre play in the bottom of fifth. After a sacrifice bunt by Landon Gray to move runners to second and third, Plumlee threw the ball into the Bulldogs’ dugout prior to being awarded time by the umpire, which resulted in an error and allowed both runners to score, giving UT a 2-1 lead.

Linginfelter and Walsh took it from there to help the Big Orange nail down their 23rd win of the season and fourth in SEC play.

The Vols’ held Mississippi State’s potent lineup to just five hits, the second-fewest in a game this season for the Bulldogs. It was the 13th time this year that UT has held its opponent to five hits or fewer.

NOTABLE
LINGO BOUNCES BACK: Coming off a rough start in last Saturday’s loss at Vanderbilt, junior pitcher Zach Linginfelter had quite the bounce-back performance against No. 5 Mississippi State on Saturday night. The junior right hander allowed just one run on five hits in 6.2 innings to earn the win and improve to 5-3 on the year. Linginfelter was pulled after just 1.1 innings against the Commodores after allowing seven runs on eight hits.

RUCKER CONTINUES SOLID HITTING IN SEC PLAY: Freshman second baseman Jake Rucker had the bat going on Saturday night and was one of just a few players to have a decent night at the plate, finishing the game with two singles and a run scored. The Greenbrier, Tenn., native was hit by a pitch in his only other at-bat and scored what turned out to be the game-winning run in the fifth inning. Rucker has been one of UT’s most productive hitters in conference play, ranking second on the team with a .333 batting average in SEC contests.

UP NEXT:  The Vols and Bulldogs will square off again tomorrow afternoon in the rubber game of the series at 2 p.m. The game will be streamed online via the WatchESPN app. Fans can also listen to the Vol Network radio broadcast (FM 99.1 / AM 990) as John Wilkerson and Vince Ferrara call the action.

Box Score (PDF) | Season Stats (PDF) | SEC Stats (PDF) | VIDEO: Vitello Postgame | VIDEO: Linginfelter & Walsh Postgame

-UT Athletics

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