Christian Moore had the biggest hit of his baseball career at Tennessee in the ninth inning on Sunday, but the first year wasn’t over.
Moore fired his hands and hit a two-run homer in the 11th inning, eclipsing his two-run single in the ninth and pushing the Vols past Florida, 6-4.
Tennessee’s No. 1 (37-3, 17-1 SEC) swept the Gators (23-17, 6-12) in Gainesville for the first time since 2001. UT’s 17-1 conference mark is the best start record for SEC play. He previously set a record for most wins to start SEC play with a 12-0 opener.
The Vols won 8-2 Friday and 3-0 Saturday.
How Tennessee came back on Sunday
Drew Gilbert had the only hit for UT in the first eight innings when Jorel Ortega led the start of the ninth with a solo homer. Jordan Beck and Gilbert struck, putting UT to their finals before they rallied.
Moore hit a two-out single to left field to score two runs and tie the score 4-4.
Trey Lipscomb picked right, Luc Lipcius walked and Evan Russell picked left to set up Moore’s heroics. The Vols charged the bases again with a pitch-hit Cortland Lawson, but Christian Scott flew to center field.
The Vols have two runners in the tenth
The series was pitch-driven
Tennessee won the series behind big starts from Chase Burns and Tidwell coupled with stifling relief work from Camden Sewell. Florida got the best start of the weekend from Brandon Neely, who allowed one hit and one run in more than seven innings on Sunday.
Burns allowed two runs on two hits and three walks in 6⅓ innings Friday. He struck out five, including three in the first two innings as he dove deep into the game after two mediocre starts. The freshman allowed seven runs on 10 hits and five walks in 5⅔ innings in short outings against Missouri and Alabama.
Tidwell pitched 4⅔ shutout innings, his longest outing of the season. He allowed two hits and walked one with five strikeouts. Tidwell struck out the first 11 batters before allowing two-out singles in the fourth.
Camden Sewell’s resurgence continues
Sewell returned to his multi-inning stoppage role over the past two weekends after a pair of tougher outings in the first half of SEC play.
Sewell pitched 4⅓ innings against Alabama on April 16 and Florida on Saturday. He didn’t allow a hit against the Gators, combining with Blade Tidwell to throw a two-hit shutout.
“Cam was just doing his thing, throwing that thing in there,” batting coach Josh Elander said Saturday. “Really good move on the radiator. The circuit breaker was good.
Sewell scored for the Vols after Chase Dollander was injured against Alabama, coming on for the win while allowing two runs on five hits. He was even more dominant against the Gators. He recovered the stoppage after pulling out three and kept walking.
Mike Wilson covers University of Tennessee athletics. Email him at [email protected] and follow him on Twitter @ByMikeWilson. If you enjoy Mike’s coverage, consider a digital subscription that will give you access to it all.