KNOXVILLE, Tenn. – No. 23 Tennessee erased a four-run deficit to topple No. 24 Missouri 11-5 in Friday night’s series opener at Lindsey Nelson Stadium.
The Volunteers scored the final 10 runs of the game after falling behind 5-1 in the top of the fourth inning to come back and snap the Tigers’ five-game win streak. The four-run deficit was the largest overcome by UT in a win this season.
The duo of Alerick Soularie and Evan Russell had monster games in the middle of the order, combing for five hits, four runs and seven runs batted in. Soularie set a new career high with four RBI while Russell tied his career best with three base knocks as the Vols scored double-digit runs for the third time in SEC play this season.
Chris Cornelius and Connor Brumfield each had three hits to lead the Tigers’ attack. Brumfield hit his second home run of the season with a two-run shot in the top of the fourth to give Mizzou a 5-1 advantage before the Vols stormed back.
The Tigers raced out to a 1-0 lead with three hits in the top of the first off of UT starter Garrett Stallings, who received a no-decision after allowed five runs (four earned) on nine hits in 4.1 innings of work. Stallings did have seven strikeouts on the night, however.
The Vols answered with a run of their own in the bottom of the first when Soularie drove in the first of his four runs of the night with a two-out single to score Justin Ammons.
Missouri scored a pair of runs in the second and fourth innings to take a four-run lead. Brumfield’s two run blast over the Vols’ bullpen in the fourth made it 5-1 Tigers, but the Big Orange exploded for seven runs over the next three innings to take control of the game.
Jake Rucker doubled to left center to score Russell in the fourth and Soularie came through with another clutch hit in the fifth with a two-run triple off the wall in right center to cut the Missouri lead to 5-4.
The Vols carried that momentum in the sixth, plating four runs in the inning to take their first lead off the night. Soularie walked with the bases loaded to tie the game at five before Russell doubled down the left-field line to clear the bases and give UT an 8-5 lead.
Pete Derkay and Rucker both had RBI hits in the eighth as the Big Orange added three insurance runs in the inning. Redmond Walsh pitched the final 2.1 innings to earn his eighth save of the season. The redshirt sophomore lefty allowed just two hits and struck out four on the night.
Sophomore right hander Sean Hunley picked up the win to improve to 4-0 on the season. The Mount Juliet, Tenn., native allowed just one hit and struck out three batters in 2.1 innings of relief.
CLUTCH HITTING CONTINUES FOR VOLS: Tennessee has been clutch at the plate over the past couple of weeks with numerous hits with two outs and with runners in scoring position. The Vols scored seven of their 11 runs with two outs on Friday night and cranked out seven hits with runners in scoring position. Dating back to last weekend’s series at Arkansas, the Big Orange have scored 21 of their last 26 runs with two outs.
BIG NIGHT FOR SOULARIE: Alerick Soularie continued his impressive debut season with another big performance at the plate on Friday night. The sophomore left fielder went 2-for-3 with two runs and a career-high four RBI. The Texas native has now reached base in 37 of the past 38 games for UT.