The hot dogs are grilled, the beer is cold, and Outfield by John Fogerty is ringing through the air as baseball is back in Rocky Top! The Tennessee baseball team opened up the season losing 2 of 3 against the Maryland Terrapins. In a series that saw head coach Tony Vitelli record his first career victory; the Vols plan to build off their lone win.
There were plenty of good things going for the young Volunteers. The Saturday starter looked great on the bump before a ball hit back at him forced an early exit. Garrett Stallings was cruising through 5.1 innings before his exit. He gave up three hits and one earned run. When he left the game the bullpen could not get the job done.
The bats came ALIVE in game three. Tennessee must have went to the dugout following game two and prayed to Jobu in order to put up 13 runs in game three. The Vols put up a five spot in the first inning and kept the momentum rolling from there on out.
Tennessee has some pieces in place in the lineup that will be excellent players in Knoxville. Leadoff man Jay Charleston had a great weekend at the dish hitting two home runs with a .308 average. Senior Benito Santiago lead the Vols with six hits while five other Vols had four hits apiece.
Look for Tennessee to be a very good team on the basepaths as well. Jay Charleston and Justin Ammons combined to go 5 for 5 on stolen base attempts. Those two are legit speed demons and will be a nightmare for SEC catchers to try to contain.
Tennessee is going to need to find some more production out of the bottom of their lineup. As mentioned about tennessee had six players with four or more hits, they also had four go hitless. Those aren’t just one at bat and no hit either those are 0 for 10, 0 for 7, 0 for 6, and 0 for 3.
The bullpen did not come to play most of the weekend as well. Once Stallings went out on Saturday it was all downhill from there. The bullpen also gave up three runs in the first game. Tennessee will need to find the guys early on in the season they can count on and rely on them heavily.
Holy moly the Vols are young!! 7 of the 9 hitters in the opening day lineup were underclassmen. The one through four hitters were all sophomores (same in all three games). 2 of the 3 starting pitchers were sophomores as well. This isn’t necessarily a bad thing there is just going to be some lumps throughout the season for the youthful Vols. We saw this first hand in the 8th and 9th innings of game two in which Tennessee gave up eight total runs to blow a 4-2 lead. Tennessee should’ve walked out of that game with a win instead they blew a two run lead.
Tennessee will play one game against Lipscomb on Tuesday (2/20) at 3:30 in Knoxville. They will then host UNC Greensboro in a weekend series.