Tennessee experienced a few scares and speedbumps in Game 1 of the Knoxville Super Regional against Evansville. Fortunately, the Vols were able to ride 4 home runs and clutch pitching to move within a win of the College World Series.

In Friday’s Game 1, the bats were hot on both sides with Tennessee’s Blake Burke opening the scoring with a solo home run in the 1st inning. That lead did not last long with Cal McGinnis drilling a 2-run home run for the Aces in the top of the 2nd.

Fortunately, the Vols had an answer at every turn with 3 runs scored in the 3rd, 5th and 7th innings. That was good news too with Evansville undaunted by the environment in Knoxville.

The Aces would challenge with a bases-loaded threat in the 9th inning, but Tennessee’s Aaron Combs slammed the door shut with an 11-6 victory. Here are the key moments and players from a crucial Game 1 win:

Key moment

Tennessee was in early control of the game, carrying a 5-2 lead into the 5th inning. The key push early on was powered by a huge opposite-field home run for Christian Moore.

In the 5th inning, the Aces tied things up and made the game interesting with 3 runs scored. An error by the Vols eventually led to all 3 runs being unearned with Kip Fougerousse delivering a 2-run double in the push.

Fortunately, the response by Tennessee was swift and aggressive. An RBI double by Burke drove in Moore before Billy Amick and Hunter Ensley also added on to give the Vols an 8-5 lead coming out of the frame.

Once back in the lead, Tennessee would not relent. A 3-run blast by Ensley in the 7th inning solidified a Game 1 victory for the Vols.

Key performers

Christian Moore, Blake Burke, Billy Amick and Hunter Ensley were the players to homer in Tennessee’s 11-run performance while Ensley would lead the way with 4 RBI. Burke, Amick and Ensley also delivered doubles to go their home runs, and Amick led the Vols with 3 runs scored.

On the mound, AJ Causey covered 4.2 innings pitched for Tennessee, and all 3 runs he surrendered were unearned. Causey struck out 8 across his outing.

After Kirby Connell allowed the first 3 batters to reach in the top of the 9th, Combs would come on to lock things down. He gave up a walk to the first batter he faced before striking out the side in a dominant inning.

What’s next?

After winning Game 1, Tennessee is now just 1 win away from a 2nd straight trip to the College World Series and a 3rd in the past 4 seasons. The Vols will get 2 chances to beat Evansville 1 more time with Game 2 set 11 am ET Saturday morning on ESPN2. Fans can use SDS’s Tennessee sports betting promos to sign up and track the latest odds related to the Vols.