June 15, 2024

AJ Russell strikes out 10 in 4.1 IP, Billy Amick hits 2-run HR as Vols beat Texas Tech 6-2

All players save for sophomore AJ Russell had a poor start to the season’s first game. After spending his whole freshman season in the bullpen, the 6-6 native of Tennessee made his debut as a starter. In 4.1 innings, he faced 16 batters, gave up 3 hits, struck out 10, and gave up just 2 runs.

In the first inning, Russell worked around a two-out single and a stolen base by striking out three. He worked his fastball through the first few innings, reaching as high as 97 mph on occasion.

He continued where he left off in the second, striking out the three batters he faced, including the second K of the inning with a back-door breaking ball.

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Despite leaving three runners on base through the first three innings, Russell struck out two of the three batters he faced in the bottom of the inning and gave up no hits, runs, or walks. For the most part, this was a non-issue

Catcher Cannon Peebles led off the fourth inning with a single, igniting the Vols’ offense. Transfer to Clemson Billy Amick sent a fastball from the inside-middle of the plate over the right-field fence to score UT’s first home run of the season.

After a full-count walk by Robin Villenueve, Kavares Tears reached on a fielder’s choice, stole second, and Bradke Lohry scored on a chopper to second base, where the throw to first pushed the first baseman off the bag and Tears scored an unearned run. Tennessee was not done in the fourth inning.

Tech’s threat in the bottom of the fifth inning began with a walk in the leadoff position and two consecutive singles. Russell was replaced at that point by reliever AJ Causey, who gave up a two-run triple after striking out the first hitter he saw to limit UT’s lead to just one at 3-2. Causey struck out a complete count to end the inning.

After Amick opened the sixth inning with a full-count single, the offense left three runners on base. Amick stayed put at third base as Dylan Dreiling crushed his first hit of the season with a double down the left-field line. A fastball hit Dylan Bargo, loading the bases with no outs, but Tears and Lohry

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