Vols wind up with road sweeps of three of the past four national champs

The most groundbreaking regular season in Tennessee baseball history made room for one final accomplishment Saturday afternoon.

Tennessee had never swept Mississippi State in Starkville but attained that with a 10-5 triumph that improved the No. 1 Volunteers to 49-7 overall and completed a 25-5 run through Southeastern Conference play. Included in that league record were road sweeps of Ole Miss, Vanderbilt, Florida and the freshly dispatched Bulldogs.

Florida, Vandy and Mississippi State have won three of the past four national championships.

"Just to win one game on the road in the SEC is an accomplishment," Tennessee coach Tony Vitello said, "but this in particular is a really tough place to play. Fortunately, for these guys, they've earned it, and they'll get to enjoy that on the trip to Birmingham, but they're tired, too.

"It was muggy and hot, and they put everything they could into this series, so a little recovery time will be good."

Tennessee is scheduled to open SEC tournament play Wednesday afternoon at 5:30 Eastern against Tuesday's Ole Miss-Vanderbilt winner.

Trey Lipscomb, Jorel Ortega and Evan Russell collected home runs for the Vols in their regular-season finale, with Ortega racking up 11 RBIs in the three games. Russell's homer not only extended Tennessee's lead to 7-2 in the fifth inning but was the 38th of his career, tying program great Todd Helton.

"It was a pretty surreal moment," Russell said. "I figured it was coming. The more we play, the better chance I have of breaking it, but rounding the bases was a wild feeling, because I never would have thought that would happen when I first got on campus."

Mississippi State, which won last season's national title, finished 26-30 overall and 9-21 in the league. The Bulldogs wound up last in the league and will miss out on the SEC tourney along with Missouri.

Contact David Paschall at dpaschall@timesfreepress.com. Follow him on Twitter @DavidSPaschall.