Tennessee baseball wins third straight series vs. Vanderbilt, moves into first-place tie in SEC

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NASHVILLE − Christian Moore matched power hitting against power pitching Saturday − and his power won.

The Tennessee baseball second baseman got his hands inside a 102 mph fastball and muscled it to right, wrapping a three-run homer inside the foul pole at Hawkins Field. He drifted down the first-base line after delivering a demoralizing sixth-inning blow to Vanderbilt.

No. 1 Tennessee did it again, coming back to beat the Commodores and take another series from its in-state rival. The Vols (42-9, 19-7 SEC) won 7-6 to its third straight series against Vanderbilt (33-17, 11-14) and move into a tie with Kentucky for first-place in the SEC.

Tennessee has won nine straight against Vanderbilt, its longest winning streak against the Commodores since it won 21 from April 1965-April 1970. It is the third-longest winning streak against Vanderbilt in program history.

UT has won eight straight SEC series with one remaining against South Carolina to close the regular season. The Vols will go for a sweep against Vanderbilt on Sunday (3 p.m. ET, ESPN2).

Christian Moore had Tennessee's big swing(s)

Moore, who had five RBIs, didn't see a pitch slower than 99 mph from Commodores reliever Greysen Carter and saw three of at least 100 mph. He got the fastest one and smashed it for the game-changing homer.

Moore's homer put UT ahead 5-3. It was the 50th of his career as he became the first Vol to reach the 50-homer threshold. It was 23rd of his career, putting him within one of Sonny Cortez's record of 24 set in 1998.

Dean Curley led off the inning with a hit by pitch. Cannon Peebles, who entered as a pinch-hitter in the fourth, walked. Cal Stark struck out trying to bunt the two in scoring position before Moore's homer. Blake Burke hit a single, moved to third on a Billy Amick infield single and scored on a wild pitch.

Moore drove in a run on an infield single in the third and another with a seventh-inning single.

Aaron Combs, Nate Snead got out of big situations for the Vols

Vols coach Tony Vitello chose Aaron Combs for his second sixth-inning pitching change. Combs walked the first batter he faced to load the bases and fell into a full count against Commodores third hitter RJ Austin.

He got Austin to feebly ground back to the mound to end the inning.

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Combs dominated the Commodores in the seventh and eighth innings before running into trouble in the ninth after a walk and a double. Vanderbilt got a sacrifice fly after Nate Snead entered to make it a 7-6 game.

Mike Wilson covers University of Tennessee athletics. Email him at michael.wilson@knoxnews.com and follow him on Twitter @ByMikeWilson. If you enjoy Mike’s coverage, consider a digital subscription that will allow you access to all of it.

This article originally appeared on Knoxville News Sentinel: Tennessee baseball wins third straight series vs. Vanderbilt