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No. 2 Tennessee baseball falls to No. 10 Alabama in SEC Tournament after ninth-inning interference call

Mike Wilson
Knoxville News Sentinel

Tennessee baseball celebrated like it had its first SEC Tournament win since 2007 on Wednesday — then it lost.

The No. 2 Vols fell 3-2 to No. 10-seeded Alabama in 11 innings after an apparent walk-off win in the ninth was negated by an interference call.

The Vols (4-15) have lost seven straight games in Hoover, Alabama. They face No. 3 seed Mississippi State (40-14) in an elimination game Thursday (10:30 a.m. ET, SEC Network).

The ninth inning

Jake Rucker beat out the back half of a double play in the ninth inning, which appeared to give Tennessee a 3-2 win. But Rucker was called out after Max Ferguson was ruled to have interfered with Alabama second baseman Peyton Wilson on his slide into second base.

THE CALL:Was it interference? See umpires' call extend Tennessee, Alabama baseball to extra innings

The umpires reviewed the call and ruled it stood. Tony Vitello argued to no avail.

Christian Scott and Connor Pavolony singled to open the ninth inning for Tennessee, starting the madness.

Liam Spence hit a liner to second base, but Wilson dropped it. Wilson threw to first, which retired Spence and kept Pavolony — who returned to first — on base after a review.

Alabama walked Ferguson, who has two walk-off hits this season, to bring up Rucker with the bases loaded. Rucker hit a chopper that Alabama pitcher Chase Lee deflected to shortstop Jim Jarvis. Jarvis flipped to Wilson, retiring Ferguson.

Vols pounce on Alabama mistakes

Alabama made a pair of errors to open the seventh, giving UT a pair of baserunners in Luc Lipcius and Jordan Beck. Pete Derkay and Beck traded places on an interference call.

Pavolony singled Lipcius home, while he and Scott — who pinch ran for Derkay — moved to second and third. Spence, who was mired in a lengthy hitless streak, hit a high chopper for an infield single to tie the game 2-2.

Tennessee gets a new opponent

The Vols would have faced Florida if they won against Alabama. UT took two of three from Florida in the regular season.

Tennessee instead gets Mississippi State, which it did not face during the regular season. The Bulldogs lost 13-1 to No. 6 seed Florida on Wednesday.

The Vols and Bulldogs more recently played in 2019. UT took two of three in the series.

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.