Diamond Dogs drop opener in Knoxville

“It’s a tough team to score on when they don’t walk anybody”

Top-ranked Tennessee defeated No. 22 Georgia 5-2 Thursday in front of a crowd of 4,580 at Lindsey Nelson Stadium.

Tennessee (44-6, 21-4 SEC) struck first on a solo home run by third baseman Trey Lipscomb to lead off the bottom of the second. It was his SEC-leading 20th blast. Georgia (32-17, 13-12 SEC) answered in the top of the third when graduate Cole Tate (3-for-3, 2 RBI) smashed a solo shot to right field for his third of the year. UT moved back ahead 2-1 in the third on an RBI-groundout by Jordan Beck. A solo home run by Blake Burke (3-fof-4, 2 RBI) in the fourth stretched the Volunteers lead to 3-1.

UT sophomore right-hander Chase Dollander improved to 7-0, providing six innings and allowing one run on three hits with no walks and six strikeouts. Bulldog junior Nolan Crisp went a career-high six innings but took the loss to fall to 1-4. He gave up three runs on seven hits with a walk and three strikeouts.

“Nolan (Crisp) pitched well and gave us a chance to win, but it’s a tough team to score on when they don’t walk anybody,” said Georgia’s Ike Cousins head baseball coach Scott Stricklin. “Dollander was really good and then you bring (Chase) Burns out of the bullpen who has been their Friday night guy and (Redmond) Walsh is a veteran. They did a great job on the mound. They didn’t give us many opportunities. We were one swing away from tying it up in the eighth and just came up a little short.

“It was good to see Cole Tate comfortable again at the plate,” Stricklin added. “Last weekend, his timing was a little off. When you sit out three weeks (due to a stress fracture in his leg), that’s kind of normal. He had three hits tonight including a home run. It was good to see him swing the bat like that, and he made some nice plays at third base. He’s back 100 percent, and that’s a good sign for us.”

In the bottom of the seventh, Georgia looked to junior Michael Polk. Burke greeted him with a leadoff home run, his second of the night and ninth of the season. He struck out the next two Volunteers and then an error and a walk extended the frame, but he battled back to retire Beck to keep it 4-1. In the eighth, Georgia closed the gap to 4-2 off Chase Burns. Corey Collins was hit by a pitch, took second on a wild pitch and scored on a double by Tate. It was Tate’s third hit of the night and he accounted for both RBI. Tate would make it to third with one out but was stranded when Burns retired Anderson. Then, UT went to Walsh who struck out pinch-hitter Cole Wagner. UT answered again in the bottom of the eighth as Polk issued back-to-back walks. The Bulldogs brought in left-hander Davis Rokose to get out of the jam.

He struck out the next two Volunteers before Evan Russell lined a run-scoring single to right for the final run of the night. Rokose ended the inning with a strikeout of Cortland Lawson. Walsh pitched a scoreless ninth for his sixth save.

The series continues Friday with first pitch set for 5:32 p.m. The game will be available on the SEC Network, and the Georgia Bulldog Sports Network.

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