STARKVILLE, Miss.(School release) - Tennessee closer Andrew Lee worked out of a pair of bases-loaded jams, with nobody out in the eighth and just one out in the ninth, to help the Vols claim their third consecutive Southeastern Conference victory as they held on to defeat No. 21 Mississippi State, 4-2, on Friday night at Dudy Noble Field.
Looking for its first berth in the SEC Tournament since 2007, UT improved to 29-18 on the season and 11-14 in league play, while the Bulldogs move to 31-19 overall and 14-11 in conference.
Lee finished with four huge strikeouts in two innings of work as he earned his third save of the year. His effort allowed freshman starter Hunter Martin to improve to 4-3 as he worked 6.1 strong innings in which he yielded just two runs on six hits while striking out five.
At the plate, freshman Nathaniel Maggio was 2-for-3 with two RBIs and a run scored while senior Taylor Smart reached base in all four of his at-bats with two singles, two walks and a run scored. Sophomore Christin Stewart also had two hits in the contest.
Tennessee will send senior right-hander Nick Williams (5-4, 3.73) to the mound on Saturday as it looks to win its second SEC series in a row. Mississippi State will counter with junior southpaw Ross Mitchell (7-4, 2.12) with the game's first pitch set for 7 p.m. ET. Richard Cross and Joe Beckwith will have the call as the game will be televised on CSS.