Evan Russell ended his brief absence from the Tennessee starting lineup on Sunday, as the catcher returned to the field for the Vols as they opened the regional final against Georgia Tech.

On Saturday, No. 1 Tennessee broke the program record for single-season wins, as they captured their 55th victory of the year with a 12-7 win over Campbell on Saturday night at Lindsey Nelson Stadium. Russell missed starting the first 2 games of the regional on Friday and Saturday, though he pinch hit on Saturday, and reached with a hit.

Before Tennessee’s Friday game against Alabama State, UT announced that Russell, the team’s starting catcher, was unavailable. Taylor on Friday contributed an RBI in the 10-0 win.

After the game on Friday, coach Tony Vitello told reporters that Russell informed him via text message that he was sick. And on Friday, Saturday’s expectations for his return were not optimistic.

Russell is a key player for the Vols, as 1 of his accolades is he’s the only player in program history to hit 3 home runs in a single game twice, as he did it against LSU and Vanderbilt.

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Sports betting in Tennessee officially launched on November 1, 2020, and many of the largest sportsbooks are live and operating in the volunteer state. Tennessee is only one of a handful of SEC football states with legalized sports betting.