The Official Tennessee @ Alabama Series Thread (Fri. March 15 8PM EST SECNET+) (Sat. March 16 8PM EST SEC NETWORK) (Sun. March 17 2PM EST SEC NETWORK)

#1

NO SIR EEE

The Sultan Of Swat
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#1
Tennessee Volunteers
(17-1) Overall (0-0) SEC

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@
Alabama Crimson Tide
(15-2) Overall (0-0) SEC
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TUSCALOOSA, Ala. – Southeastern Conference play has arrived as No. 5/5 Tennessee opens its league slate with a trip to Tuscaloosa to take on No. 12/14 Alabama this weekend at Sewell-Thomas Stadium. The Volunteers enter SEC play riding a 16-game winning streak after going a perfect 15-0 during their homestand the last three weeks.

BROADCAST INFO

Friday's game will be streamed on SEC Network+ and the ESPN app with Roger Hoover (PxP) and Lance Cormier (analyst) on the call while Saturday and Sunday's contests will be televised on the SEC Network with Dave Neal (PxP) and VFL Chris Burke (analyst) calling the action.

Fans can also listen to John Wilkerson's radio call on the Vol Network (FM 99.1/AM 990). A free audio stream will also be available on UTSports.com, the Tennessee Athletics App and the Varsity App.

PROJECTED STARTING PITCHERS

GAME 1: RHP AJ Causey (3-0, 1.31 ERA) vs. RHP Ben Hess (3-0, 2.65 ERA)
GAME 2: RHP Drew Beam (3-0, 2.08 ERA) vs. LHP Greg Farone (2-0, 1.72 ERA)
GAME 3: TBD vs. RHP Hagan Banks (0-0, 0.00 ERA)

SERIES HISTORY

Overall: Alabama leads, 78-44
in Knoxville: Alabama leads, 26-24
in Tuscaloosa: Alabama leads, 46-18
at Neutral Sites: Alabama leads, 6-2
Last Meeting: W, 15-4 – April 17, 2022 in Knoxville

The Vols are 8-3 against the Crimson Tide under head coach Tony Vitello and have won all three series between the two teams during his tenure, including taking two of three from Alabama in Tuscaloosa in 2021.

NOTABLE

Noting the Win Streak
Tennessee's 16-game winning streak is the second longest current streak in Division I this season, trailing only Texas A&M (17). It is also tied for the second-longest win streak in program history, matching the 1994 team's 16-game streak from Feb. 25 to March 26. In each of the last six seasons, including 2024, the Vols have recorded at least 15 wins prior to starting SEC play and have had 12 or more wins before conference play in every season of the Vitello era (2018-pres.).

SEC Opening Weekend
After another successful start to the year, the Vols enter SEC play with a 16-1 record. The Big Orange will be looking to notch their third series win on SEC Opening Weekend under Vitello after taking two of three at Georgia in 2021 and sweeping South Carolina at home in 2022.

For the fifth time during Vitello's tenure, UT opens SEC play on the road. The Vols also opened conference play away from home in 2018 (Ole Miss), 2019 (Auburn), 2021 (Georgia) and 2023 (Missouri). Tennessee is 12-17 in SEC openers on the road since 1980 and 33-46 overall in SEC openers.

10 Vols Set to Participate in MLB Spring Breakout Games
Ten former Vols, who are now highly touted MLB prospects, were named to their respective club's 2024 Spring Breakout rosters last week, which is the second most of any collegiate program. New to the 2024 Spring Training slate, MLB Spring Breakout is a four-day event showcasing baseball's future: the current stars of Minor League Baseball. The inaugural edition will be held from March 14-17 at Grapefruit and Cactus League stadiums during Spring Training. A series of 16 exhibition games will be played between teams comprised of each MLB organization's top prospects.

The 10 former Vols set to participate include: Maui Ahuna (Giants), Jordan Beck (Rockies), Chase Dollander (Rockies), Drew Gilbert (Mets), Seth Halvorsen (Rockies), Trey Lipscomb (Nationals), Will Mabrey (Diamondbacks), Connor Pavolony (Orioles), Seth Stephenson (Tigers) and Blade Tidwell (Mets).

Cause(y) and Effect
It's been a simple equation for the Vols so far this season, when AJ Causey pitches, Tennessee wins. The junior righthander has recorded three wins and a save in his four appearances this season, including consecutive wins after starting each of the Vols' last two Friday night games. The Jacksonville State transfer and Alabama native tied a career high with 12 strikeouts in last Friday's victory over Illinois, allowing just one run in six innings of work.

Causey allowed just one hit and one walk while striking out nine batters in seven innings pitched two weeks ago vs. Bowling Green and enters this weekend's series fifth in the SEC in ERA (1.31) and tied for eighth in strikeouts (30). His strikeout-to-walk ratio (10.00) is also tied for third in the conference and 21st in the country.

KT's Streaks
Redshirt sophomore Kavares Tears is having a breakout season so far and enters this week on a career-long 16-game hitting streak. He has reached base in all 17 games he's played in this season, as well.

Tears is leading the team in batting average (.426) and runs scored (26) to go along with five home runs and 16 RBIs. His 26 runs scored are tied for fourth in the SEC and 14th in the country while his .426 batting average is tied for third best in the conference. The Lewisburg, Tennessee, native, drove in the game-winning run with a two-out double in the seventh inning of last Sunday's 8-3 win vs. Illinois and went 2-for-2 with two runs, a homer and two RBIs in Tuesday's midweek win over Eastern Kentucky.

OPPONENT SCOUT

Alabama Crimson Tide (15-2, 0-0 SEC)
  • Head Coach: Rob Vaughn (1st season)
  • 2023 Record: 43-21 (16-14 SEC)
  • 2023 Postseason: NCAA Winston-Salem Super Regional
  • 2024 SEC Preseason Poll: 4th in Western Division
  • Preseason All-Conference Selections (1):
    • LHP Alton Davis II
  • Players to Watch:
    • INF Gage Miller: Leads team in nearly every offensive category.
    • OF TJ McCants: Ole Miss transfer with six home runs, 23 RBIs and team-high six steals.
    • RHP Ben Hess: Friday-night starter who is 3-0 and leads team with 28 strikeouts.
    • LHP Alton Davis II: One of the premier relief pitchers in the SEC and tied for second in the league with three saves.

ON DECK

The Vols return home to begin an eight-game homestand next week, starting with a matchup on Tuesday night against 2023 NCAA Regional foe Xavier at 6 p.m.
 
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#24
#24
I heard last weekend that he would be back this weekend but not sure for how long and which day.
How do you think our arms will stack up against SEC bats?
Flip side...
Can our bats go toe to toe with SEC pitching?
I’m worried about some inexperience, headed into conference play.
Maybe that’s a good thing and some of these young guys don’t get rattled, becuse they don’t know better.😁
Am I just being paranoid, headed into a series with a hated rival?
 

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