Chase Burns vs. Morehead State//Photo via Tennessee Athletics
KNOXVILLE, Tenn. –Tennessee Baseball (13-3) eased past Morehead State (9-6) 6-0 in game one of Saturday’s doubleheader and game two of the three-game series.
The Vols’ series-clinching win was powered by a career performance from Chase Burns on the mound and consistent scoring from the offense. Tennessee scored one run in six of eight innings, and five Vols had an RBI.
Blake Burke was the only Vol to have multiple RBIs and was one of two players to leave the yard along with Griffin Merritt.
The bullpen followed up Burns’ terrific outing well, not allowing a baserunner in the final 2.1 innings. Andrew Lindsey and Camden Sewell were the two arms out of the pen for Tennessee, as Sewell made his season debut.
Here’s everything you need to know about the Vols’ fourth shutout win of the season.
Chase Burns Pitches a Gem, Sets Career High
Chase Burns was fantastic to start Saturday afternoon. The sophomore retired his first six batters across the first two innings, dealing five strikeouts in the process.
Burns ran into a little trouble in the third, giving up a two-out walk and double to give the Eagles a pair of runners in scoring position. But the sophomore struck out Morehead State’s best hitter, Jackson Feltner, to strand the runners and keep the Eagles scoreless.
Burns then dealt his third 1-2-3 inning of the day in the fourth and retired the side around a one-out single in the fifth.
The Gallatin, Tennessee, native tied his career-high in strikeouts in the sixth inning, striking out two batters in a 1-2-3 inning to give him 12 Ks on the day.
Burns quickly set his career-high, throwing his 13th strikeout to start the seventh inning. The sophomore’s day was done two batters later, as junior RHP Andrew Lindsey came on to close out the seventh inning.
FINAL LINE for Chase Burns: 6.2 IP, 3 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 1 BB, 13 K (Career-High), 62 strikes on 94 total pitches against 24 batters.
— Rocky Top Insider (@rockytopinsider) March 11, 2023
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Vols Take Lead With Pair of Solo Homers
Blake Burke gave Tennessee an early lead with a two-out solo home run over the scoreboard in the bottom of the first. The Vols’ second run of the day came off the bat of Griffin Merritt, who knocked a wall-scraper solo homer to left center.
Burke’s home run served as his first hit of the series and first home run since game two against Gonzaga.
On the other hand, Griffin Merritt’s bomb served as his third in the past five games, as the Cincinnati transfer has been heating up since the beginning of March.
The Vols added their third run in the third inning off a Blake Burke RBI single to score Maui Ahuna, who led off the inning with a hard-hit single.
Vols Continue Consistent Scoring
Tennessee extended their lead in the fifth. With runners on the corners, Zane Denton’s seventh RBI of the series, a sac fly to left field, brought home Christian Moore to give the Vols a 4-0 lead.
Freshman designated hitter Dylan Dreiling then padded Tennessee’s lead in the sixth with a leadoff solo home run to the Tennessee bullpen. Dreiling’s homer marked his second of his career and of the series.
Tennessee continued the theme of scoring one run per inning into the seventh. After Blake Burke smacked a one-out double, Jared Dickey brought him home with a two-out RBI single to extend the Vols’ lead to six runs.
Through seven innings, the Vols had scored one run in every inning but the fourth. Consistent scoring combined with Burns’ dazzling day had the Vols leading the Eagles 6-0 heading into the final two frames.
Bullpen Doesn’t Allow a Baserunner, Camden Sewell Makes Season Debut
After Lindsey got the final out of the seventh in relief for Burns, the junior sat the Eagles down in order in the eighth and retired the leadoff man in the ninth.
Super-senior Camden Sewell then made his season debut with one out in the ninth and struck out his only two batters to end the game.
Tennessee will close out the series against Morehead State at 6 p.m. ET in the second game of the doubleheader. A Vols win will mark the third consecutive series sweep for the Volunteers.