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BSB PREVIEW: #2 Vols Host South Carolina to Open SEC Play

KNOXVILLE, Tenn. – No. 2 Tennessee begins its SEC slate this Friday night as the Volunteers host eastern division foe South Carolina to kick off a three-game series at Lindsey Nelson Stadium.

The Vols enter SEC play on an eight-game winning streak after going 5-0 last week and starting this week with a 7-1 victory over Eastern Kentucky on Tuesday.

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.

TICKET INFORMATION

Season tickets and single-game tickets for all SEC contests are SOLD OUT. Single-game tickets for all remaining non-conference home games can be purchased at AllVols.com or by calling the Tennessee Athletic ticket office at 865-656-1200.

Single-game tickets for all games can also be purchased through Vivid Seats, the exclusive resale marketplace for Tennessee Athletics, by clicking HERE.

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

Friday and Sunday’s games will be streamed live on SEC Network+ with Andy Brock (PxP) and Charlie Puleo (color) calling the action. Saturday’s game will be broadcast on the SEC Network with John Schriffen (PxP) and VFL Chris Burke (color) on the call.

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 Voice of Tennessee Baseball John Wilkerson call the games on the Vol Network (FM 99.1/AM 990) as well as UTSports.com and the Tennessee Athletics App.

WEEKEND SCHEDULE/PROJECTED STARTING PITCHERS

Game 1 – Friday, March 18 (6:30 pm)

RHP Chase Burns (3-0, 0.45 ERA) vs. RHP Noah Hall (0-2, 9.42 ERA)

Game 2 – Saturday, March 19 (12 pm)
RHP Chase Dollander (2-0, 3.79 ERA) vs. RHP Will Sanders (3-0, 2.52 ERA)

Game 3 – Sunday, March 20 (1 pm)
RHP Drew Beam (3-0, 1.59 ERA) vs. LHP Matthew Becker (1-0, 2.25 ERA)

SERIES HISTORY

Overall: South Carolina leads, 66-40
In Knoxville: South Carolina leads, 24-22
In Columbia: South Carolina leads, 39-16
Neutral Sites: South Carolina leads, 3-2
Last Meeting: W, 5-4 (May 22, 2021)

After playing each other to close the regular season in 2021, the Vols and Gamecocks will meet to open SEC play this year. After getting swept in three straight series from 2016-18, Tennessee has won its series against Carolina in each of the past two years.

NOTABLE

Climbing in the Polls

The Vols continued their climb in the rankings after going 5-0 last week. Tennessee is ranked as high as No. 2 in the nation this week by Collegiate Baseball News and is a consensus top 10 team overall. UT’s No. 2 ranking is tied for the highest ever in program history.

SEC Opening Weekend

For the first time under head coach Tony Vitell and the first time since 2017, Tennessee opens SEC play at home. The Vols also opened conference play against South Carolina in that 2017 season. The Big Orange will be looking to notch their second straight series win on SEC Opening Weekend after taking two of three at Georgia last season.

The Vols are 5-8 in SEC openers at home since 1980 and 32-45 all-time in SEC openers. They will be looking for their first victory in an SEC opener against the Gamecocks (0-2).



Strikeout Kings
Tennessee’s pitching staff has been racking up the strikeouts so far this season. Vols’ pitchers totaled 60 strikeouts over their five games last week, including 15 in the second game of Friday’s doubleheader against Rhode Island. UT’s pitching staff has recorded double-digit strikeouts in 13 of its 17 games this season and ranks fifth nationally in strikeouts per nine innings (12.2).



Knoxville Cleaning Service
After its series sweep over Rhode Island last weekend, UT has swept three opponents already this season. Since Vitello took over as head coach in 2018, Tennessee has swept 15 weekend series (not including tournaments).



Series Sweeps by Year Under Vitello
2022: 3 | 2021: 5 | 2020: 2 | 2019: 3 | 2018: 2



KNOCKSville Bomb Squad
The Vols hit 13 more home runs last week and three on Tuesday to increase their NCAA-leading total to 46. Tennessee tied its single-game program record with seven long balls in last Wednesday’s 10-2 victory over James Madison. Those seven homers came from six different players.


The Big Orange have homered at least once in 15 of its 17 games this season and have hit multiple home runs 11 times already this year. In total, 13 different players have gone deep this season and 12 of those players have hit multiple homers.

OPPONENT SCOUT

South Carolina Gamecocks

  • Record: 10-6 (0-0 SEC)
  • 2021 Postseason: NCAA Columbia Regional (1-2)
  • 2022 SEC Preseason Poll: 5th in Eastern Division
  • Head Coach: Mark Kingston (5th Season)
  • Preseason Honors:

    • RHP Will Sanders (Preseason All-SEC)

  • Stat Leaders:

    • Batting Avg: Michael Braswell (.429)
    • Runs: Michael Braswell (17)
    • Hits: Michael Braswell (27)
    • Home Runs: Andrew Eyster/Kevin Madden (3)
    • RBI: Andrew Eyster (23)
    • Stolen Bases: Braylen Wimmer (5)
    • Wins: Aidan Hunter/Will Sanders (3)
    • Saves: Michael Braswell (3)
    • ERA (min. 1 IP/G): John Gilreath (0.84)
    • Innings Pitched: Will Sanders (25.0)
    • Strikeouts: Will Sanders (28)

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.

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 Block Parties
Starting with Friday’s SEC opener, an exciting new area will be in place for fans this season. Friday SEC Block Parties will take place for ticketed fans on Pat Head Summitt Street for every Friday SEC contest (weather permitting). The area will only be accessible for fans with tickets to Friday’s game.

Friday’s SEC Block Parties will feature music, giveaways, face painting, 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.

Food, drink, and anything else acquired at the block party can be brought inside the stadium. Gates 10A and 11 will be open for fans to use to enter the stadium. Fans may come and go from stadium to the block party as they please.

ON DECK

The Vols finish their 10-game homestand with a midweek matchup against Butler on Tuesday, March 22 at 6:30 pm at Lindsey Nelson Stadium. Tickets for the game can be purchased by visiting AllVols.com.

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