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BSB PREVIEW: #16 Vols Host Georgia Southern to Open 2022 Campaign

KNOXVILLE, Tenn. – The offseason has come and gone and it’s officially baseball time in Tennessee as the Vols open their highly-anticipated 2022 season this weekend by hosting Georgia Southern at Lindsey Nelson Stadium.

First pitch for the series opener is slated for 4:30 pm on Friday. The Vols and Eagles will face off in a rematch of last year’s season-opening series in Statesboro, where the Big Orange came away with a series sweep by winning three extremely competitive games.

GAMEDAY INFORMATION

For the most updated gameday information related to Tennessee baseball, please visit our Gameday Central page by clicking HERE. The baseball Gameday Central page contains info in regard to tickets, parking, stadium policies and more.

NEW TO LINDSEY NELSON STADIUM

With a palpable excitement surrounding the program, Lindsey Nelson Stadium has added some new and improved seating areas and fan amenities to increase capacity and provide a better fan experience this season.

One of the first things fans will see upon arriving is an additional deck of porches behind the left-field wall as well as new chair-back bleacher seating down the left-field line.

All porches for the 2022 season are sold out, however, the left-field bleachers will be sold as general admission seating. Additional food and beverage options will be located next to the new bleachers throughout the year. For SEC games, a VolShop location and food trucks will be located in that area, as well.

UT has removed the playground down the right-field line and re-branded the area as “The Deck”, which will feature a standing room only area for UT’s students while also providing additional concessions options to help negate congestion throughout the main concourse. In order to enhance the gameday experience, a Petro’s Chili & Chips, Moe’s Southwest Grill, Gameday Sausage kiosk and a new beer kiosk have been added to the deck area.

Vol fans can look for Coca-Cola, popcorn and beer at kiosks on the Plaza located down the first-base line. The VolShop will have hats and merchandise available on the Plaza, as well. The Fan Experience Hub, your one-stop shop for game programs, posters, schedule cards, contest info and more, will also be located in the Plaza area.

Tennessee’s MVP season-ticket holders will also be greeted with a brand new, completely renovated MVP Room this season.

Friday SEC Fan Fest
Starting with the SEC opener on March 18 against South Carolina, an exciting new area will be in place for fans this season. “Friday SEC Fan Fest” will take place for ticketed fans on Pat Head Summitt Street for every Friday SEC contest.

Friday Fan Fests will feature music, giveaways, food/beverage options, VolShop sales locations and Vol Network Sponsor activations. Additionally, VFL Sterl the Pearl will join various SEC weekend games to add to the electricity at Lindsey Nelson Stadium.

TICKET INFORMATION

Season tickets for this season are SOLD OUT. However, single-game tickets for the first 15 home games are still available at AllVols.com or by calling the Tennessee Athletic ticket office at 865-656-1200.

Single-game tickets for SEC games and the remaining midweek contests will go on sale in early March.

In order to keep Lindsey Nelson Stadium as full as possible, 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).

BROADCAST INFO

All three games of this weekend’s series will be streamed live online on SEC Network+ and the ESPN app. The online broadcast can be accessed on any mobile device through WatchESPN. WatchESPN can be accessed through the ESPN App, or online at espn.com/watch.

Fans can also listen to the live audio call by John Wilkerson and Vince Ferrara on UTSports.com or the UT Gameday App.

PROJECTED STARTING PITCHERS

Game 1: RHP Chase Burns vs. RHP Chase Burns. LHP Ty Fisher
Game 2: TBD vs. RHP Jaylen Paden
Game 3: TBD vs. RHP Ben Johnson

SERIES HISTORY

Overall: Tennessee leads, 7-3
In Knoxville: Georgia Southern leads, 1-0
In Statesboro: Tennessee leads, 5-2
Neutral Sites: Tennessee leads, 2-0
Last Meeting: W, 7-3 in 12 Inn. (Feb. 21, 2021)

This weekend will mark just the second time that the Vols and Eagles have squared off in Knoxville. Tennessee opened last season with a series sweep over Georgia Southern in Statesboro.

NOTABLE

A Season for the Record Books

Tennessee is coming off one of its best seasons in program history in 2021. For just the fifth time in program history and the first time since 2005, the Vols advanced to the College World Series. They won 50 games for just the third time in program history and finished the year tied for the most wins in the nation. UT won its first SEC Eastern Division Championship since 1997 and its first outright division title since 1995 this season and advanced to the SEC Tournament Championship game for the first time since 1995.

The Vols’ 20-10 record in league play was their best since finishing 22-8 in 1995 and their winning record in league play was their first since 2005. Tennessee was ranked as high as No. 2 in the nation last season, its highest ranking in program history.



Vols in Season/Home Openers
Tennessee will be looking for another Opening Day victory on Friday evening. The Vols have won three straight season openers and five of their last six. The Big Orange are 74-35-2 all-time in season openers. They are also 89-20-2 in home openers and have won 20 of their last 22 home openers.


UT has had great success historically when opening the season with a series against a single opponent. The Vols have won 22 of their 31 season-opening series in program history (does not include tournaments or 2-game series).



Fast Starts Under Vitello
During Tony Vitell‘s tenure as head coach, the Vols have gotten off the fast starts on a consistent basis. Over the past three years, UT has started at least 7-0 in every season and has posted two of the best starts in program history (2019 & 2020).


Tennessee started 13-0 in 2020 before losing its first game, marking the second-longest winning streak to open a season in program history. The Vols’ longest winning streak to start a season came just one year earlier when they got off to a 15-0 start in 2019.



Longest Winning Streaks to Start a Season
1. 2019 15 Games
2. 2020 13 Games
3. 2014 12 Games



Preseason Honors
Tennessee has racked up the preseason accolades with five players earning preseason honors heading into the 2022 campaign.


Three players have garnered preseason All-America recognition:
– RHP Blade Tidwell: Baseball America (1st Team), NCBWA (1st Team), Collegiate Baseball Newspaper (1st Team), Perfect Game (2nd Team)
– OF Jordan Beck: NCBWA (2nd Team), Collegiate Baseball Newspaper (2nd Team), Baseball America (3rd Team)
– C Evan Russell: Collegiate Baseball Newspaper (3rd Team)


Beck and fellow junior outfielder Drew Gilbert were also named to the Preseason All-SEC second team. Super senior LHP Redmond Walsh was named to the NCBWA Stopper of the Year Preseason Watch List for the third straight year.

OPPONENT SCOUT

Georgia Southern Eagles

  • 2021 Record: 34-23 (14-10 Sun Belt)
  • 2021 Sun Belt Finish: 2nd in East Division
  • 2022 Sun Belt Preseason Poll: 2nd
  • Preseason Honors:

    • Jason Swan (All-Sun Belt – 1B)
    • Christian Avant (All-Sun Belt – OF)
    • Noah Ledford (All-Sun Belt – DH)

  • Returning Stat Leaders:

    • Batting Avg: Christian Avant (.358)
    • Runs: Christian Avant (39)
    • Hits: Christian Avant (78)
    • Home Runs: Noah Ledford (14)
    • RBI: Noah Ledford (45)
    • Stolen Bases: Christian Avant (13)
    • Wins: Jay Thompson (7)
    • Saves: Three players tied (1)
    • ERA (min. 15.0 IP): Jay Thompson (1.49)
    • WHIP: Braden Hays (0.98)
    • Innings Pitched: Ben Johnson (41.2)
    • Strikeouts: Hayden Harris (49)

GAME PROMOTIONS

Gameday 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 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 continue their nine-game homestand to begin the season with a pair of midweek games against Tennessee Tech and UNC Asheville on Tuesday and Wednesday next week. Both games are slated to start at 4:30 pm

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