Baseball Preview: #3 Vols and #2 Dores Set for Volunteer State Showdown

Vols OF Evan Russell / Credit: UT Athletics

KNOXVILLE, Tenn. – No. 3 Tennessee hosts No. 2 Vanderbilt for a top-five in-state showdown at Lindsey Nelson Stadium this weekend.

This weekend’s series marks the first time in the longstanding series between the Vols and Commodores that both teams are ranked in the top five nationally.

GAMEDAY INFORMATION

Relying on the expertise of public health authorities, the state of Tennessee, appropriate university and government agencies including the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), we are implementing a number of new initiatives at Tennessee Baseball gamedays this spring. The well-being of our student-athletes, fans and staff are our top priorities and guide our decisions. Exposure to COVID-19 is an inherent risk in any public location where people are present; we cannot guarantee you will not be exposed during your visit.

The Southeastern Conference in August released several conference-wide fan health and safety guidelines for all member institutions this fall. The Tennessee-specific measures outlined on this page are in line with, and in addition to, the SEC’s guidelines.

Parking
Baseball parking is located primarily in Lots GF1, G16, and C1.

Additional on-street parking is located in C10 along Todd Helton Dr. and Chamique Holdsclaw Dr. and along West Volunteer Blvd.

Handicap parking is located in marked handicap spaces on Pat Head Summitt St. and in the G16 Volunteer Blvd. garage.  The 2021 parking map can be seen HERE (PDF).

For more information and gameday info, visit the Tennessee Baseball Gameday Information page by clicking HERE.

TICKET INFORMATION

Lindsey Nelson Stadium continues to operate with reduced capacity to align with state and local social-distancing guidelines for public gatherings. A limited number of single game tickets will be available for walk-up sales for this weekend’s games beginning 90 minutes prior to first pitch, until tickets sell out.

Single-game tickets may be available for select games based on visiting team ticket returns, as well. Fans are encouraged to call the Ticket Office at 865-656-1200 for individual game availability. For weekend series, please contact the Ticket Office on Fridays before 5:00 p.m. Single-game tickets can also be purchased through Vivid Seats by clicking HERE.

In order to keep Lindsey Nelson Stadium as full as possible during a season with limited capacity, we are encouraging season ticket holders who are unable to use their tickets for a game(s) to either transfer your tickets to someone else (Instructions HERE), sell them on VividSeats (information available at UTSports.com/cantmakethegame) or participate in our new Seats for Student program (Instructions HERE).

BROADCAST INFO

Friday’s series opener will be televised on ESPNU and Saturday’s contest will air on the SEC Network as Clay Matvick (PxP) and Chris Burke (color) call the action. Sunday’s finale will be streamed on SEC Network+ and the ESPN app with Bob Kesling (PxP) and Charlie Puleo (color) on the call.

Fans can also listen to the official Vol Network radio call for all three games on Sports Radio WNML (FM 99.1 / AM 990), as well as UTSports.com and the UT Gameday app. John Wilkerson and Vince Ferrara will describe the action.

PROJECTED STARTING PITCHERS

Game 1: RHP Chad Dallas (5-0) vs. RHP Kumar Rocker (7-1)
Game 2: LHP Will Heflin (2-1) vs. RHP Jack Leiter (7-0)
Game 3: RHP Blade Tidwell (4-1) vs. RHP Patrick Reilly (3-1)

SERIES HISTORY

Overall: Tennessee leads, 176-163-2
In Knoxville: Tennessee leads, 94-58-1
In Nashville: Vanderbilt leads, 100-75-1
Neutral Sites: Tennessee leads, 5-3
Site Unknown: Teams tied, 2-2
Last Meeting: W, 7-6 (March 31, 2019)

The Vols and Commodores have split the past 10 meetings in the series. Tennessee has played and beaten Vanderbilt more than any other opponent in program history.

NOTABLE

Volunteer State Showdown
Tennessee and Vanderbilt enter this weekend’s series tied atop the SEC eastern division standings at 9-3, which is also tied with Arkansas for the best record in the league. The Vols will look to improve on their 7-2 record against ranked opponents this season, as well. Since Tony Vitello took over the program in 2018, UT has posted 25 wins over ranked foes and won seven series over top-25 teams.

Making History
The Vols have continued to reach new heights this season and set another new standard on Monday, earning their highest ranking in program history. UT is ranked No. 3 in the USA Today Top 25 and Perfect Game top 25 poll.

Impressive in SEC Play
Tennessee’s 9-3 record through 12 SEC games is its best since 2004. The Big Orange are currently tied for first in the eastern division, and with their series win over the Gators last weekend, the Vols have secured a win in each of their first four conference series for the first time since 1970.

SEC East Success
After winning two of three games against No. 9 Florida last weekend, UT is now 15-9 against fellow SEC eastern division foes since 2019, including a 4-2 record this season. The Vols went 11-7 against eastern division opponents in 2019, marking their first winning record against divisional foes since going 8-7 back in 2010. Tennessee’s third place finish in the east in 2019 was its highest since finishing second back in 2005.

Aussie On Base
Liam Spence is coming off another impressive week where he batted .429 and drew five walks. The senior from Geelong, Australia has reached base in 34 consecutive games played dating back to last season. Spence leads the SEC in batting average (.405) and on-base percentage (.538) and was named to the Golden Spikes Award Midseason Watch List on Wednesday afternoon.

OPPONENT SCOUT

Vanderbilt Commodores

  • 2021 Record: 20-9 (5-4 SEC)
  • Rankings: D1Baseball.com (#2), USA Today (#2), CBN (#2), NCBWA (#2), Baseball America (#6), Perfect Game (#7)
  • 2019 Postseason: College World Series (Champions)
  •  Head Coach: Tim Corbin (19th season) // Has led Vandy to two National Titles (2014 & 2019)
  • Predicted SEC Finish: 2nd (Eastern Division)
  • Preseason All-SEC Selections:
    • Kumar Rocker (1st Team – SP)
    • Jack Leiter (2nd Team – SP)
  • Stat Leaders:
    • Batting Avg: Dominic Keegan (.391)
    • Runs: Enrique Bradfield Jr. (28)
    • Hits: Carter Young (39)
    • Home Runs: Carter Young (7)
    • RBI: Dominic Keegan (30)
    • Stolen Bases: Enrique Bradfield Jr. (21-22)
    • Wins: Kumar Rocker & Jack Leiter (7)
    • ERA (min. 15.0 IP): Jack Leiter (0.55)
    • Innings Pitched: Jack Leiter (49.0)
    • Strikeouts: Jack Leiter (84)
  • Notable: Lead the SEC in batting average, doubles, ERA, hits allowed/9 innings, on-base percentage, slugging percentage, triples and WHIP.

GAME PROMOTIONS

Upcoming promotions for all Tennessee athletics home events can be found on the UT Fan Experience page by clicking HERE.

Fans are encouraged to download the My All App for their phones and devices this season. The app is available on the Google Play Store and Apple App Store and will allow fans to participate in in-game trivia, the custom filter selfie cam and more throughout the year.

ON DECK

The Vols remain home to take on another in-state opponent next Tuesday in Tennessee Tech. First pitch against the Golden Eagles is set for 6:30 p.m.

-UT Athletics

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