STARKVILLE, Miss. – The top-ranked Tennessee Volunteers homered three times in the first inning and never took their foot off the gas in a 27-2 annihilation of Mississippi State in Thursday night's series opener at Dudy Noble Field.
Tennessee (47-7, 23-5 SEC) had a perfect start to the road showdown. After a groundout to start the game, Luc Lipcius, Jordan Beck and Drew Gilbert hit back-to-back-to-back home runs to spot the Big Orange a 3-0 lead in the blink of an eye.
The Vols' tied the single-game program record with seven long balls and totaled a season-high 25 hits on the night. The 25-run margin of victory was the largest for an SEC game in program history.
While the offense was pouring on the runs, Chase Dollander was mowing down Bulldog hitters in a dominant performance on the mound to improve to 8-0 on the year. The sophomore right hander had six strikeouts in six no-hit innings and issued just one walk before exiting the game after a lengthy top of the seventh inning.
That offensive onslaught continued in the third as Gilbert and Jorel Ortega drove in runs before standout freshman Blake Burke smashed his 10th home run of the season, a three-run shot into the second deck of the porches in right-center field.
The Vols scored three more times in both the fifth and sixth innings, highlighted by a three-run homer to dead center from Ortega. The redshirt sophomore infielder mashed his second homer of the night, and 14th of the season, in the eighth inning. Ortega finished the night with a game-high five hits and eight RBIs, both of which were career bests.
UT posted its largest offensive outburst in the seventh inning, plating seven runs. Lipcius crushed his second home run of the night – a two-run shot to left – prior to an RBI single by Ortega, a two-run double by Evan Russell and an RBI single from Christian Scott.
Eight of UT's nine starters collected a base knock in the game while seven had multiple hits and three tallied four or more hits on the night.
SEC Player of the Year candidate Trey Lipscomb went a perfect 4-for-4 at the plate, his second game this season with four or more hits and his 20th multi-hit outing of the year. His strong at-bats were mirrored by Russell, who was 4-of-5 with three doubles and three RBIs. His doubles came in consecutive innings as he posted an extra-bagger in the fifth, sixth and seventh.
Mississippi State (26-28, 9-19 SEC) scored two runs in the last three innings, but in all, it was a quiet offensive night for the Bulldogs, who dropped their ninth SEC game in their last 10 contests.
The Big Orange will look to secure the series with a win on Friday night. First pitch is set for 7 p.m. and the game will be streamed online on SEC Network+ and the ESPN app.
Tennessee tied the program record for home runs in a single game for the second time this season, also hitting seven against James Madison on March 9. This comes after the Vols crushed six homers in their midweek bout with Belmont on Tuesday, May 17, at Lindsey Nelson Stadium.
Blake Burke's third inning home run made him the eighth Volunteer hitter with 10 or more home runs this season. Others on the list include three who had homers tonight, Luc Lipcius, Jordan Beck andd Jorel Ortega, plus Trey Lipscomb, Evan Russell, Christian Moore and Cortland Lawson.
In the victory, Tennessee surpassed its previous highest margin of victory in an SEC game of 20 runs, done on May 8, 2010 against Georgia, 25-5.
27 was the most runs Mississippi State has given up in a single game since 1966.