Burke, Tennessee eliminate Mississippi State from SEC Tournament with 6-5 comeback win

HOOVER, Ala. (AP) — Blake Burke went 3 for 3, including the go-ahead home run in the eighth inning, to help Tennessee rally and beat Mississippi State 6-5 Friday night in an elimination game at the SEC Tournament.

Top-seeded Tennessee (48-11) plays No. 8 seed Vanderbilt on Saturday in the single-elimination semifinals.

Bryce Chance led off the bottom of the seventh with a walk but ended the inning when he was thrown out by catcher Cannon Peebles while trying to steal second. The call was confirmed by replay review. Burke, who was at the plate when the inning ended, hit a 1-1 pitch over the wall in right-center field to lead off the eighth for the game's final run.

Hunter Ensley walked to lead off the top of the seventh inning, Kavares Tears struck out and Dean Curley singled before Reese Chapman walked to load the bases. Cannon Peebles pinch hit for Cal Stark and reached on a fielder's choice that drove in Ensley. Curley scored on a throwing error to make it 5-5.

Nate Snead came on with one out and nobody on in the bottom of the ninth and induced back-to-back ground outs to end the game and earn the save, his fifth of the season.

Amani Larry was hit by a pitch to lead off the bottom of the fifth and, after Hunter Hines stuck out, moved to second on a single by Joe Powell. Ethan Pulliam struck out looking before Bryce Chance and David Mershon drew back-to-back walks, the latter of which drove home Larry, before Connor Hujsak and Dakota Jordan added consecutive two-run singles to give Mississippi State (38-21) a 5-3 lead.

Burke led off the top of the third inning with a single and later scored on a sacrifice fly by Tears to give Tennessee a 1-0 lead. Chapman doubled down the line in left to lead off the fourth and advanced to third when Stark flied out. Christian Moore walked on four consecutive pitches and then was thrown out as Burke scored on the double steal. Curley’s RBI single in the top of the fifth gave the Volunteers a 3-0 lead.

The Associated Press