STARKVILLE– The No. 1 Tennessee Baseball Volunteers are set to take on the Mississippi State Bulldogs for the series opener on Thursday in Starkville, Mississippi. First pitch is set for 7 p.m. ET (6 p.m. CT). SEC Network has the broadcast. SECN+ will have the stream for games two and three.
The Vols' series against the Bulldogs is the final series of the regular season. Tennessee enters the weekend coming off a 18-0 drubbing of in-state foe Belmont on Tuesday and a series win over Georgia in Knoxville.
The series win led to the Vols regaining a unanimous number one ranking in the six major college baseball Top 25 polls on Monday. Tennessee's No. 1 ranking around the table marks the eighth week this season the Vols have been unanimously ranked the best team in the nation.
After switching up the starting pitching rotation against Georgia–starting Chase Dollander, Blade Tidwell then Ben Joyce–the Vols are returning to the starting rotation they've used most of the season.
However, Dollander will get the start in the opener, logging his second consecutive day one start. Freshman Chase Burns will start in the second game of a series for the first time this year when he gets the ball to begin Friday night's game, and freshman Drew Beam will start on Saturday in his usual day three role.
Tennessee head coach Tony Vitello's most recent media availability previewing the Mississippi State series and recapping the Vols' win over Belmont is above.
Mississippi State enters their final trio of home games coming off a series loss to Texas A&M in which they were swept in College Station. The Bulldogs currently sit last in the SEC West, one game behind Alabama. If the SEC Tournament started today, the defending College World Series Champions would not make it. Therefore, Mississippi State will be fighting for their lives in the series against UT. The Crimson Tide play Arkansas this weekend for their final series, and Alabama has been slipping as of late, so Mississippi State's performance against the Vols this weekend is crucial for how their season plays out.
The Vols will be rocking the Smokey Grey uniforms in Starkville on Thursday night.
Tennessee's starting lineup in game one against the defending College World Series Champions is below.
Thursday night's pitching matchup is below.
Vols Sophomore RHP Chase Dollander (7-0, 2.54 ERA, 84 K/8 BB, 56.2 IP) vs. Miss. St. Senior RHP Brandon Smith (3-4, 4.99 ERA, 57 K/17 BB, 61.1 IP)
-Burke is clearly atop the list of designated hitters, logging his fifth start in the last six games, third SEC start in the last four conference games.
-Dollander starting in the opener for the second consecutive week.
-Lipcius in the two-hole against a righty, Ortega in the six-hole like we've seen plenty as of late.
-Dickey still not ready to go, and Stephenson continues to start in left and leadoff.
The section below will be continuously updated with updates and the score of Tennessee's series opener with Mississippi State.
Article Intro by Jack Foster
Updates by Riley Haltom
- Leadoff man Seth Stephenson grounds out on the first pitch from Brandon Smith.
- Luc Lipcius goes yard on just the fourth pitch of the game. Great start for the Vols.
- Jordan Beck makes it back-to-back with another homer. A Vol that really needed to get one.
- Make it three in a row for the Vols. Drew Gilbert goes deep.
- Single for Trey Lipscomb to the right side.
- Jorel Ortega grounds into a double play to finally bring an end to the Vols offensive inning.
- Chase Dollander starts on the mound for the Vols. RJ Yeager flies out to left-center.
- Luke Hancock lines out to Courtland Lawson.
- Logan Tanner flies out to the warning track. 3 up, 3 down for Dollander.
Score: Vols 3, Bulldogs 0
- Blake Burke with a shot to center. Bounces off the wall for a single.
- Evan Russell grounds to SS for a double-play. Two innings, two double-plays.
- Cortland Lawson flies out to left.
- Hunter Hines flies out to center on the first pitch of the inning.
- Brad Cumbest pops out to Jorel Ortega.
- Kellum Clark flies out to left. No hits off Dollander so far.
Score: Vols 3, Bulldogs 0
- Seth Stephenson reaches on a nice infield single. Steals second on a pitch in the dirt.
- Luc Lipcius singles to left field. Sends Stephenson to third.
- Jordan Beck high fly ball to shallow center. Runners stay.
- Drew Gilbert with a deep sac fly to right, scoring Stephenson.
- Trey Lipscomb with a ground ball single to second. Lipcius to second.
- Jorel Ortega with an RBI double down the third base line. Scores Lipcius.
- Blake Burke with a 2-out 3-run homer. Absolutely crushed.
- Evan Russell with a single to left.
- Cortland Lawson strikes out swinging.
- Trey Lipscomb with a great catch on a foul ball. Athletic play.
- Jess Davis grounds out to 1B.
- Lane Forsythe walked. First walk since April 2 for Dollander.
- RJ Yeager strikes out swinging on a pretty breaking ball. Bulldogs remain hitless.
Score: Vols 8, Bulldogs 0
- Mikey Tepper to pitch for the struggling Brandon Smith. Seth Stephenson strikes out swinging.
- Luc Lipcius grounds out to first.
- Jordan Beck strikes out swinging.
- Luke Hancock flies out to right.
- Logan Tanner strikes out swinging.
- Hunter Hines lines out to right. Great inning from Dollander.
Score: Vols 8, Bulldogs 0
- Drew Gilbert grounds out to shortstop.
- Trey Lipscomb singles to left.
- Jorel Ortega with a pop fly to shortstop.
- Lipscomb to 2B on a wild pitch. Blake Burke walked, making him 3-for-3 in getting on base so far.
- Evan Russell with an RBI line-drive double. Lipscomb scores.
- Cortland Lawson walked.
- Seth Stephenson with an RBI line-drive single. Scores Evan Russell and Blake Burke.
- Cam Tullar in to pitch. with two outs in the inning.
- Luc Lipcius strikes out swinging.
- Brad Cumbest strikes out swinging.
- Kellum Clark strikes out swinging.
- Kamren James strikes out swinging. Anyone getting deja vu?
Score: Vols 11, Bulldogs 0
- Jordan Beck walked to start the sixth.
- Drew Gilbert pops out to first base.
- Trey Lipscomb with a grounder to left field. The single moves Beck to scoring position.
- Jorel Ortega with a 3-run homer to dead center. Absolute rocket.
- Christian Moore to bat for Blake Burke. Grounds out to shortstop.
- Evan Russell doubles down the third base line.
- Cortland Lawson flies out to left center.
- Dollander still pitching for the Vols. Jess Davis caught swinging.
- Lane Forsythe sends one to the warning track, but Jordan Beck is waiting on it.
- Flyout for RJ Yeager.
Score: Vols 14, Bulldogs 0
- Jack Walker in to pitch for the Bulldogs. Christian Scott to hit for Seth Stephenson. Christian Scott hit by pitch.
- Luc Lipcius with a 2-run shot to left. His second of the night.
- Jordan Beck walked.
- Drew Gilbert doubles, sends Jordan Beck to third.
- Beck scores on a wild pitch, Gilbert advances to 3B. Trey Lipscomb walked.
- Cole Cheatem in to pitch for Walker. Jorel Ortega with a perfect RBI single.
- Christian Moore caught looking.
- Evan Russell 2-RBI double.
- Cortland Lawson grounds out to second, Evan Russell to 3B.
- Christian Scott with an RBI single. Russell scores.
- Ethan Payne pinch hits for Lipcius. He's hit by the pitch. That puts two on base.
- Jordan Beck caught looking. End of a very long inning.
- Mark McLaughlin in to pitch for Dollander. Great performance from the Vols' ace.
- Luke Hancock walked.
- Logan Tanner with a single to mark the Bulldog's first hit.
- Hunter Hines RBI single scores Hancock, but Tanner is caught at home for the first out.
- Brad Cumbest flies out to center right.
- Kellum Clark with a single.
- Kamren James walked, bases loaded.
- Wyatt Evans in to pitch, Jess Davis caught swinging. Bulldogs get a run on the board.
Score: Vols 21, Bulldogs 1
- Kyle Booker in for Drew Gilbert. Walked by Cheatham.
- Logan Steenstra in for Trey Lipscomb. Caught looking for the first out.
- Jorel Ortega with his second homer of the night. It's a 2-run shot.
- Christian Moore strikes out swinging.
- Charlie Taylor pinch hits for Evan Russell. Grounds out to third.
- Wyatt Evans stays on the mound to start the bottom of the eighth. Tanner Leggett gets a solo shot to left.
- RJ Yeager sends one straight to the glove of Jordan Beck.
- Luke Hancock grounds out to 2B.
- Logan Tanner caught looking to end the eighth.
Score: Vols 23, Bulldogs 2
- Andrew Walling in to close for the Bulldogs. Cortland Lawson hit by pitch.
- Christian Scott walked.
- Wild pitch advances runners. Ethan Payne struck out swinging.
- Jordan Beck caught swinging.
- Kyle Booker walked to load the bases.
- Logan Steenstra with a 3-RBI double.
- Jorel Ortega off the wall to get an RBI double.
- Christian Moore strikes out swinging, to end the Volunteer offense's night. They finish tied with the most homers in a single game in program history at 7.
- Zander Sechrist to close for the Vols. Brayland Skinner starts with a double.
- Aaron Downs caught looking.
- Slate Alford strikes out swinging.
- Von Seibert strikes out looking.
Score: Vols 27, Bulldogs 2
FINAL: Tennessee 27, Mississippi State 2
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Cover photo via Jake Nichols.