Knoxville, Tenn. ( Associated Press) – Blades Tidwell surrendered just three hits in 7 2/3 shutout innings, Jordan Beck hit two of the No. 1 aggregate seeded Tennessee’s five home runs and the Volunteers scored in a 10-0 win over Alabama State. Achieved Knoxville Regional on Friday.
Tennessee (54-7), who has won nine in a row, will play the winner of Friday’s Nightcap between Campbell and Georgia Tech on Saturday. Alabama State (34-24) will play an elimination match against the loser on Saturday.
Tidwell (3-1) ended his longest stint on the mound this season by three innings, with seven going without a move.
Jorel Ortega staked the volume to lead 2-0 with an RBI double in the bottom of the second and a single homer in the fourth. Beck hit a sacrificial fly in the fifth to lead 3-0. Tennessee broke the game with a sixth score of five runs. Beck hit a two-run homer and Drew Gilbert followed with a single shot to cap the rally. Blake Burke followed suit in seventh and Beck in eighth – both single shots.
The Volunteers extended their home run record to 146. No team has had more hits in a season since the college game was changed to a safer BBCOR bat in 2011.
Brian Pooler (10-3) lost to Alabama State. He allowed three runs off eight hits and a walk in 4 2/3 innings. Four singles are responsible for the Hornets’ offense.
Slugging catcher Evan Russell, who has 38 career homers – tied with Todd Helton for the school record – did not play due to illness. Walls head coach Tony Vitello said after the game that he would likely not play on Saturday.
The Volunteers were given the top seed for the first time in the program’s history after winning the SEC regular-season and tournament titles for the first time since 1995. Tennessee continued to set program records for wins and became the first SEC team to enter the tournament. Over 50 wins.
Tennessee entered the game and leads the nation in slack percentage (.604), earned-run average (2.35) and WHIP (0.96). Vols also surrenders the fewest hits and walks in the country.