Thanks to back-to-back wins, the Volunteers clinch the weekend Southeastern Conference series. For UT, it is their first conference series victory of the year and first against MSU since the Vols took a rain-shortened two-game set in 2005.
The Volunteers have won three straight and improve to 15-20 overall and 3-11 in league play, while the Bulldogs fall to 18-17 and 4-10.
For a second straight day, the Bulldogs produced nothing but the long ball. Ryan Powers homered in a 6-1 a loss in the series opener Friday night. On Saturday, the Bulldogs received a pair of solo shots from Cody Freeman and Connor Powers.
This limited offense would not be enough for freshman left-hander Nick Routt. Routt threw his league-best fourth straight complete game but for the second time in those four complete games, received a loss.
Routt (4-2) allowed eight hits and four runs (all earned), while striking out seven and walking five.
Tennessee scored first in the third inning when Cody Grisham doubled and scored on a Cody Hawn single.
The Bulldogs answered in the top of the fourth inning when Cody Freeman hit his second home run of the season - a towering shot over the right field wall.
Tennessee broke the 1-1 tie with a run in the home half of the fourth inning. A two-run home run by catcher Blake Forsythe an inning later proved large, as it gave the Volunteers a 4-1 advantage. For Forsythe, it was a team-best 12th home run this season.
The Bulldogs received a solo home run from Connor Powers in the sixth inning. For Powers, it was his team-best 10th home run of the season. Unfortunately for MSU, that round-tripper closed out the Bulldogs’ scoring.
MSU only managed seven hits off the UT pitching trio of Nick Hernandez, Danny Wiltz and Matt Ramsey.
Hernandez (2-4) was lifted after a leadoff flyout in the seventh inning. The junior left-hander allowed six hits and two runs (both earned), with seven strikeouts and one walk. Wiltz allowed one hit while getting the final two outs in the seventh inning and all three outs in the eighth inning. Matt Ramsey retired the side in order in the ninth inning for his first save.
Freeman had multiple hits for the Bulldogs. Ryan Powers had a double in the fifth inning to extend his hit streak to 12 games.
Matt Ramsey and Grisham each had a pair of hits for the Volunteers.
MSU and Tennessee close the series with a noon CT start on Easter Sunday. That contest will be televised regionally by SportSouth.