No. 24 Alabama obliterated by No. 1 Tennessee to drop series Sunday

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Courtesy of UA Athletics

Alabama third baseman Zane Denton (44) gets ready to swing the bat in the Crimson Tide’s 15-4 loss to the No. 1 Tennessee Volunteers on April 17 at Lindsey Nelson Stadium in Knoxville, Tennessee.

Austin Hannon, Staff Reporter

After taking game one of the weekend series against No. 1 Tennessee, the 24th-ranked Alabama Crimson Tide (23-14, 8-7) struggled to keep up with the Volunteers the rest of the weekend.

On Sunday, Tennessee (33-3, 14-1) cruised to a 15-4 win over the Crimson Tide, winning the weekend series.

The Volunteers were without head coach Tony Vitello, who was suspended for four games Saturday night when he made physical contact with an umpire in the first inning.

“Tennessee is a really good team. They’re No. 1 in the country for a reason, and we ran into a buzzsaw today,” Alabama head coach Brad Bohannon said.

The Volunteers rocked Alabama starter Grayson Hitt from the beginning. After picking up five outs without any damage, Tennessee had a four-run, two-out rally in the second inning to take an early 4-1 lead.

Crimson Tide first baseman Drew Williamson hit a solo shot in the first frame to put Alabama on top first. Hitt was removed from the mound after throwing 79 pitches in 3.2 innings, surrendering seven hits and seven runs, as well as walking three.

Tennessee scored eight more runs over the next 5.1 innings to complete its dominant Sunday performance. The Volunteers totaled 15 hits and four home runs.

Third baseman Trey Lipscomb hit two himself, piling on five RBIs. Second baseman Jorel Ortega had an incredible day at the plate, going 4-for-5 with a home run and four RBIs.

Walks can tell the story of a game at times. The Volunteers walked just two batters while the Crimson Tide walked eight.

Ten of Tennessee’s 15 runs came with two outs. The Volunteers hit .538 when down to their final out each frame.

Tennessee starting pitcher Drew Beam struck out 10 Crimson Tide hitters, walked none and allowed only four hits. However, three of those hits were home runs by Alabama. Infielders Jim Jarvis, Drew Williamson and Zane Denton all hit one out of the park while Beam was on the bump.

Other than that, the Crimson Tide had three hits.

Even after losing the last two games of the series by a combined 18 runs, Alabama leaves Knoxville with a victory in hand, something that no other team in the SEC can say.

“The biggest thing we can take away from these last two weeks is that we’ve gone on the road to two of the toughest places to play in the country and finished 4-2,” Bohannon said. “We’ve got to flush today, refocus and come back with a great day of practice tomorrow to get ready for the new week.”

The Crimson Tide now come home for four consecutive games at Sewell-Thomas Stadium. Alabama will have a rematch with the UAB Blazers in Tuscaloosa on Tuesday, April 19, at 6 p.m. CT.

After that will be another weekend series with a ranked team. The No. 13 Georgia Bulldogs come to The Joe following a series loss against Texas A&M.

Questions? Email the sports desk at sports@cw.ua.edu.