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No. 1 Tennessee baseball opens series with No. 19 Auburn with a 17-4 win

Second baseman Jorel Ortega hi a grand slam in the bottom of the seventh inning to get the Vols up 7-4. They never trailed again.
Credit: University of Tennessee

KNOXVILLE, Tenn. — Tennessee baseball opened its top 25 series matchup with Auburn with a 17-4 win on Friday inside Lindsey Nelson Stadium.

The top-ranked Vols jumped on the 19th-ranked Tigers in the bottom of the second with two runs.

First baseman Luc Lipcius put down a bunt and reached on an error, which scored center fielder Drew Gilbert. Catcher Evan Russell hit a sacrifice fly to bring in third baseman Trey Lipscomb for the second run.

Pitcher Chase Burns had a huge moment in the top of the third inning. After allowing a single then walking two batters, the bases were loaded with no outs. He went on to strike out three straight batters, including the top hitter in the nation in batting average Tiger first baseman Sonny DiChara.

The same situation arose for Vols pitcher Will Mabery with the bases loaded with no outs in the top of the sixth inning. He struck out one batter. He gave up a run on a single to Auburn's second baseman Cole Foster, but Gilbert threw out a runner at home for the second out. The Auburn third baseman, Blake Rambusch, then hit a three-run home run to give the Tigers a 4-2 lead.

That would be the score after that half of the inning.

The Vols struck back in the bottom of the seventh inning. Shortstop Cortland Lawson hit an RBI single in the inning that brought Russell home to make it 4-3.

Tennessee loaded the bases shortly after that with no outs.

Second baseman Jorel Ortega hit a grand slam to put Tennessee back up 7-4. Catcher Evan Russell hit a three-run home run later in the inning to get the Vols up 10-4.

Pinch hitter Blake Burke hit a solo home run in the eighth inning to make it 11-4. Ortega homered again in the inning too with a solo shot to make it 12-4.

The homers didn't stop. Lipscomb hit a two-run home run in the eighth and then Russell hit a solo shot. The Vols had six home runs in the game, all starting when Ortega hit the grand slam.

The Vols' 17 runs are their most in an SEC contest this season.

Tennessee and Auburn play again on Saturday for the second game of the series.

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