Vols fall flat against Virginia in Game 3 of 2021 College World Series

The loss leaves Tennessee on the brink of elimination.
Author:
Updated:
Original:

OMAHA, Neb. -- Given that Sunday marked Tennessee's first College World Series game since 2005, one couldn't blame the Vols for needing some time to adjust. 

Except that adjustment never came. 

All Virginia needed was a one-run shot from Logan Michaels, but a four-run seventh inning provided insurance in a 6-0 UVA win that leaves Tennessee one loss from an early trip back to Knoxville. 

This also marks the Vols' first shutout loss since April 16 against Vanderbilt. 

Now, Tennessee looks ahead to Tuesday (1 p.m. CT), when it will face the loser of tonight's Mississippi State-Texas game in an elimination matchup.

Opportunities wasted

The crux of Tennessee's series-opening sleeper came in the fifth and sixth innings. Jordan Beck drew a walk with no outs, then Pete Derkay knocked a single into left field.

Connor Pavolony laid a perfect bunt to put runners on second and third, but Liam Spence and Max Ferguson -- the top two hitters in UT's order -- lined out and grounded out, respectively, to end the threat. Spence's liner was particularly cruel, as the rocket went straight at Virginia second-baseman Max Cotier for an easy out.

One inning later, Tennessee had a similar result -- with perhaps even greater distaste. Jake Rucker knocked a single through the right side to open the sixth frame, and Drew Gilbert put runners on first and second with no outs.

Evan Russell followed that with a single on a fielder's choice, but Gilbert was called out at second. Then Luc Lipcius went down looking, and Jordan Beck struck out swinging. 

Virginia starter Andrew Abbott flexed in celebration as he walked toward the dugout, while Beck retreated more solemnly.

RBI singles, late insurance drown Vols

Those morose moments started early for Tennessee, too. 

Michaels sent a towering shot over the NCAA logo in left field in the top of the third frame, notching his first home run of the season. 

The 1-0 lead brought the Cavaliers out of the dugout in hysterics, but they weren't done. And neither was Michaels.

The Virginia catcher notched an RBI single in the top of the seventh frame to make the score 2-0, and Chris Newell and Zach Gelof each followed suit for a 4-0 advantage. 

Tennessee tugged Sean Hunley from the bullpen after Virginia took a 3-0 lead, but it came to no avail. Another RBI single -- this time from Cotier -- made the score 5-0 before the Vols induced a double play to end the four-run frame. 

The Cavaliers' second-baseman added some more insurance in the top of the ninth, slicing an RBI groundout to put UVA ahead 6-0.

In total, the Cavs finished with 13 hits, while Abbott got the win. 

Dallas deals, then Tennessee rotates through rotation

Aside from Michaels' early dinger, Tennessee starter Chad Dallas got through six innings unscathed. 

Then came the cavalry, which scored three quick runs to send Dallas into the dugout. 

In total, the junior tossed 6.1 innings, gave up eight hits and allowed four runs with three errors. He also struck out four and walked one, finishing with 48 strikes on 63 pitches. 

Hunley, meanwhile, didn't last as long. After entering during Virginia's onslaught, Tennessee's typically composed senior allowed a run on three hits with an error in 0.2 innings. 

Redmond Walsh tossed a strikeout in one inning of work, while Camden Sewell allowed two hits and a run in the top of the ninth.