The second-seeded Vols (40-20) must face top-seeded North Carolina later Sunday at Boshamer Stadium. A North Carolina victory would send the Tar Heels to a super regional. A Tennessee triumph would force a rematch Monday to determine which team advances.
Rucker’s two-out single to left off Evan Brabrand (4-3) scored Evan Russell from third. Russell had moved from first to third when Ricky Martinez reached on a throwing error by Liberty shortstop Cam Locklear that kept Tennessee’s rally alive.
Liberty (43-21) tied the game in the bottom of the ninth when Logan Mathieu was hit by a pitch from Redmond Walsh (2-2) with the bases loaded and nobody out. But the Flames couldn’t get the winning run home. After Will Wagner lined to first, Walsh got Locklear to hit into a double play.