Dreiling’s seven RBIs help Vols square series with Georgia

Tennessee Athletics photo by Ian Cox / Tennessee's Dylan Dreiling drove in seven runs Saturday night as the No. 5 Volunteers defeated No. 22 Georgia 16-11 at Lindsey Nelson Stadium.
Tennessee Athletics photo by Ian Cox / Tennessee's Dylan Dreiling drove in seven runs Saturday night as the No. 5 Volunteers defeated No. 22 Georgia 16-11 at Lindsey Nelson Stadium.

The Georgia Bulldogs lit up Tennessee pitching again Saturday night in Knoxville.

This time, however, it was in an unsuccessful attempt to keep pace with the big bats of the Volunteers.

Dylan Dreiling launched a three-run home run in the first inning and added a grand slam in the fifth as No. 5 Tennessee defeated the No. 22 Bulldogs 16-11 in a nearly four-hour marathon containing 29 combined hits and 13 combined walks. The Vols bounced back from Friday night's 16-2 loss that was called after seven innings, with the two teams set for an Easter Sunday rubber match at 2 p.m.

"It sucks losing, and it's even worse getting beat like that," Dreiling said in a news conference. "We just tried to show up and respond today, and I thought we did a very good job of that."

The Vols, who put Saturday's game away with Dalton Bargo's grand slam to left field in the seventh inning, improved to 23-5 overall and to 4-4 in Southeastern Conference play. The Bulldogs dropped to 22-5 and 4-4.

Tennessee's win overshadowed another staggering performance by Georgia redshirt sophomore center fielder Charlie Condon, who went 5-for-6 with two home runs and a double. The 6-foot-6, 216-pounder from Marietta is now hitting .525 with 19 home runs and 11 doubles.

"These are two of the really dynamic clubs in the nation," Tennessee coach Tony Vitello said. "There are others, but this will be fun to play a little Sunday ball."

Dreiling's three-run homer to left field in the first inning followed Blake Burke's one-out double to left-center and a Kavares Tears two-out walk. A 3-0 lead for the Vols, however, became a 7-3 deficit after the Bulldogs hammered Tennessee starter Drew Beam with a seven-run outburst in the third inning that was highlighted by Condon's two-run home run to left and Sebastian Murillo's three-run homer to left.

The Vols pulled within 7-4 later in the third on a solo home run by Blake Burke, who matched Luc Lipcius for the program standard with his 40th career blast.

Tennessee took a 10-8 lead with a six-run fifth inning, with Burke's RBI single to right pulling the Vols within 8-5, a Tears walk with the bases loaded making it an 8-6 game and Dreiling's grand slam to right putting the Vols up. The Bulldogs made it a 10-10 contest in the seventh inning on Kolby Branch's two-run homer to left.

Beam didn't work three full innings before being replaced by Kirby Connell, who allowed three runs on seven hits over five innings to get the win.

"I'm a little tired. I'm not going to lie," Connell said. "It's been five years since I've thrown 94 pitches."

Contact David Paschall at dpaschall@timesfreepress.com.

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