Top-seeded Tennessee outlasts Campbell 12-7 to advance

KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (AP) — Jorel Ortega hit two home runs, Cortland Lawson hit a three-run shot in a four-run ninth and No. 1 overall seed Tennessee outlasted Campbell 12-7 on Saturday in the Knoxville Regional.

Tennessee (54-7) advances to Sunday’s title game. The Volunteers will play the winner of an elimination game between Campbell (41-18) and Georgia Tech on Sunday morning. A loss by Tennessee would force a Monday finale.

A two-run homer by Jarrod Belbin ignited a four-run third and the Fighting Camels grabbed 4-0 lead.

Ortega had a two-run homer in a three-run fourth and Drew Gilbert hit a three-run shot in the fifth, followed by an RBI single from Oretega, as Tennessee took a 7-4 lead and never trailed again.

Kirby Connell (4-0) got the win for the Volunteers with four innings of relief. Connell surrendered a two-run homer — the only runs he allowed — to Connor Denning before striking out Ty Babin for the second out. Chase Burns took the mound and beaned his first hitter, Waldy Arias, who was forced to leave the game for concussion protocol.

Bryce Arnold pinch ran for Arias, Tyler Halstead followed with a single and both runners moved up a base on a double steal. After an intentional walk to Belbin loaded the bases, Burns struck out Lawson Harrill to end the threat.

Campbell’s Zach Neto went 3-for-5 and is batting .415 this season.

Tennessee leads the nation in homers with 150, while Campbell has the fifth-best total at 118. Tennessee also has the lowest ERA (2.35) in the country and is 36-3 at home this season.

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