Alabama (19-2, 3-0) won its first three SEC games for the first time since 1989, when the Crimson Tide also swept the Vols in Tuscaloosa. Alabama has also equalled the best start in school history after 21 games, tying the 1997 team with a 19-2 record.
Sanders (4-0) won for the fourth time this season, pitching into the sixth inning before turning the game over to Tankersley with no outs and two runners on base.
Trailing 3-1, Tennessee put the first two runners on base on singles by Nick Crowe and Walter Sevilla. Sanders exited the game after holding UT to one run on eight hits in five-plus innings. He walked one and struck out two. Tankersley struck Brandon Hopkins, who failed to lay down a sacrifice bunt in two attempts. Adam Smith, who hit into an inning-ending double play in the fourth inning, ended the rally in the sixth and he rapped into his second double play of the game. He was 0-for-3 and responsible for five outs on Sunday.
"Shane Sanders pitched well," Alabama coach Jim Wells said. "I felt good with him on the mound today. Taylor Tankersley pitched well, too. I felt like coming into the game we had plenty of pitching, something we have not been able to say since 1996. "
After the momentum swing, Alabama extended its lead in the bottom of the inning and tacked on three more runs in the eighth for the 7-1 win.
In the sixth, Boyd ripped a two-run double into the left field corner and scored on Beau Hearod's single to center.
In the eighth, Alabama scored three runs to chase Jeffrey Terrell (2-3), who allowed seven runs on nine hits.
McClanahan led off with a double into the left field corner and moved to third on Carlos Sosa's sacrifice bunt. McClanahan scored when Terrell's throw was wild and skipped past the third baseman. Sosa moved to second on the play and then lifted for pinch-runner Allen Rice.
Stonard followed with a base hit to right field chasing Terrell, who lost two outings to the Crimson Tide this year. Terrell was also the losing pitcher at the Metrodome on March 1, yielding nine runs and UT record 15 hits in seven-plus innings to Alabama.
Jay Sadlowe came on to pitch and promptly balked home Rice from third to give UA a 6-1 lead. Boyd's sacrifice fly to center scored Stonard from third base and capped the scoring.
"We had to scratch and claw for our runs today," Wells added. "Their pitcher is very good and did a nice job. He was tough on us. We scratched and clawed and few bloopers fell in with some men on base. We were able to take advantage of the opportunities."
Tennessee (10-13, 0-3 SEC) scored the first run of the game in the top of the fourth inning, aided by a balk from UA starter Shane Sanders. Walter Sevilla led off the inning with a bunt single and advanced to second on the balk. Brandon Hopkins followed with a single to right, putting runners on the corners with no outs. Adam Smith grounded into a double play, scoring Sevilla from third. Dennis Gomez grounded out to the end the inning.
Alabama tied the game in the bottom of the inning on back-to-back hits by Peter Stonard and Jeremy Brown. Stonard started the rally with a one-out triple into the right-center field gap and scored on Brown's single up the middle.
The Crimson Tide took the lead with two unearned runs in the fifth inning. Zac Welch reached on a two-our error by shortstop Walter Sevilla to start the rally. Adam Pavkovich followed with a bloop single to center that was aided when Sevilla and centerfielder Jordan Czarneicki collided on the dead run. Welch scored from first and Pavkovich took second on the play.
Alabama extended its lead to 4-1 in the sixth inning with a pair of two out hits. Brent Boyd doubled down the left field line to start the rally and Hearod followed with an RBI single to center. Hearod was thrown out to end the inning as he tried to advance to second base on the throw home. McClanahan led the way with three hits for Alabama, while Stonard and Hearod added two hits apiece.
Tennessee's first four batters -- Jordan Czarneicki (2-4), Nick Crowe (2-4), Walter Sevilla (3-4) and Brandon Hopkins (3-4) -- were 10-for-12 on Sunday against Alabama. The rest of the UT lineup collected only one hit in 22 at-bats.
The Crimson Tide has won eight straight games, its second-longest winning streak of the year. Alabama is also undefeated at home this year (17-0) and has won 21 straight home games dating back to last year.
Alabama closes out its nine-game homestand on Wednesday night with a 6:30 p.m. game against the Jacksonville State Gamecocks. JSU plays Tuesdayagainst Alabama A&M.