Photo via Tennessee Athletics
Tennessee baseball opened up an early lead and coasted past Dayton 6-0 to complete the weekend sweep of the Flyers at Lindsey Nelson Stadium Sunday afternoon.
Drew Beam completed a weekend of impressive starting pitching outings for the Vols while showing some resiliency in the process.
Heres’s everything to know about Tennessee’s series finale victory.
More From RTI: Play-By-Play Of Tennessee’s Game Three Win Over Dayton
Beam Flashes Toughness
Drew Beam’s nickname is QB1. The former Blackman High School starting quarterback brings that presence and toughness to the mound in Knoxville. The toughness was on display Sunday afternoon.
With two-outs in the third inning, Beam took a 102 mph line drive straight off the leg and right above the outside of his knee. It was the first hit he surrendered and gave the Flyers runners on the corners.
After the trainer looked at it, Beam threw some warmup pitches and decided to stay in the game. He proceeded to get out of the jam with a strikeout and went on to retire the eight batters faced following the incident.
The line drive was the only hit Beam surrendered in the win, holding Dayton scoreless while surrendering three walks and totaling four strikeouts in 5.1 innings of action.
After Chase Dollander and Chase Burns earned most of the preseason notoriety, Beam has been the best of the bunch two weeks into the season and has yet to allow a run.
Blake Burke’s Big Day
Blake Burke is the best bat in Tennessee’s lineup. He reminded us of that again Sunday while also reminding us that he’ll leave Knoxville as the Vols’ career home run champion.
The sophomore first baseman hit a pair of no doubt blasts Sunday— his third and fourth of a season just eight games old.
Burke opened the scoring in the first inning with a line drive home run that cleared the batter’s eye in center field and went 428 feet.
The power hitting lefty added another in the fifth inning. Dayton played the shift in the infield and outfield and Burke hit one to left field that would have easily dropped for an extra-base hit if it didn’t easily clear the left field wall and land in the second deck of porches.
Both home runs, but especially the second, were a ridiculous showing of the sophomore’s strength.
Burke went two-of-four from the plate and is now hitting 10-of-28 (.357) on the season with seven RBIs. While the numbers aren’t surprising due to his extreme success as a freshman last season, it is still impressive since he’s not the bat in the middle of Tennessee’s lineup that opponents want to pitch around.
We’ll see how he handles that when the competition gets steeper in SEC play but it’s been a nice start.
Bullpen Continues The Pitching Dominance
It was a strong day for Drew Beam on top of a dominant weekend for the Vols’ pitching staff as a whole. Nothing changed when Tennessee’s bullpen took over for Beam in the sixth inning.
The Vols had used just three relief pitchers the first two games of the series (AJ Russell, Aaron Combs and Seth Halvorsen) so Frank Anderson and Josh Elander emptied the tank in game three. Four different pitchers came out of the bullpen.
Veteran Kirby Connell was the first out of the bullpen, retiring both batters he faced while picking up one strikeout.
RHP Zach Joyce didn’t pick up any strikeouts but still retired the side in order and didn’t allow any hard contact as he continues to impress after a two-year hiatus from baseball.
LHP Jacob Bimbi ended Tennessee’s streak of retired batters at 13 when Matt Maloney doubled to left field to open the eighth inning. He only faced one more batter as a hard hit fly out to centerfield allowed Maloney to tag up to third.
Fellow junior college transfer Bryce Jenkins replaced him and was impressive preserving the shutout. Zachary Scott kept fouling off 3-2 fastballs but Jenkins finally got one past him for out number two before getting Dayton leadoff hitter Ben Jones to pop out to end the inning.
Charlotte transfer Andrew Lindsey came in to finish the job and did just that, retiring the side in order int he ninth inning.
For the day, Tennessee’s pitchers allowed just three walks and two hits.
Tennessee’s 15-game home stand continues Tuesday as the Vols welcome Charleston Southern to Lindsey Nelson Stadium for the first of two midweek bouts.