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Dallas strikes out 12, Tennessee beats LSU 4-2 in opener

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KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (AP) — Chad Dallas had 12 strikeouts over six innings, Sean Hunley threw three scoreless innings of relief and Tennessee beat LSU 4-2 on Saturday night to open the best-of-3 Knoxville Super Regional.

Tennessee (49-16), the No. 3 overall seed, can clinch a berth in the College World Series with another win over the Tigers on Sunday. The Vols are 4-0 against LSU (38-24) this season, including a three-game sweep of the Tigers in Knoxville in March, beating them in walk-off fashion twice.

Max Ferguson fell behind 2-0 before taking four consecutive balls for a one-out walk to spark a three-run sixth inning for Tennessee. Jake Rucker followed with a double down the left-field line before Ferguson scored on a fielder's choice by Drew Gilbert to make it 2-2. Russell walked before a fielder's choice by Lipcius scored Rucker and a single by Beck drove in Gilbert to cap the scoring.

Dallas (11-1) gave up two runs — one earned — on five hits with no walks. Hunley, who had five strikeouts and gave up three hits, earned his ninth save of the season.

Cade Doughty opened the scoring hit a solo home run in the second inning for LSU. Cade Beloso stole third base and then scored on a throwing error to give the Tigers a 2-1 lead in the top of the fifth.

The game was delayed for nearly an hour after the second inning due to lightning in the area.

The Tigers, who are one game from elimination, are the sentimental favorite of many fans. LSU coach, and active career wins leader, Paul Mainieri announced before the tournament he will retire after this season.

LSU had to win four of its last five SEC series to get an at-large bid as a No. 3 regional seed, and the Tigers beat Oregon twice in two days to advance.

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More NCAA baseball tournament coverage: https://apnews.com/hub/college-world-series

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