Sunday, March 28, 2021

WCU Baseball at #6 Tennessee

The Cats travel to Knoxville, Tennessee to face the #6 nationally ranked Tennessee Volunteers in Lindsey Nelson Stadium on Tuesday, in what will be the 28th meeting between the two teams on the diamond. The Cats and Volunteers last played in March 2018.  

When: Tuesday, March 30, 2021, at 6:30 pm 
Where: Lindsey Nelson Stadium - Knoxville, TN
TV/video: SECN (ESPN)
Live Stats: UT Live stats
Conference: SEC
Mascot: Volunteers
UT Fan Message Board: VolNation
TicketsTicket information

Head Coach: Tony Vitello - head coach at UT since 2017 -
Record at UT: 102-54 (4th Year) 
 Alma Mater: Missouri (‘02) Hometown: St. Louis, Mo. 
2021 UT Baseball Record: 19-4 overall, 3-1 SEC, 13-2 home, 6-2 away, 0-0 neutral
2020 UT Baseball Record: 15-2 overall, 0-0 conf., 12-2 home, 0-0 away, 3-0 neutral

The Series: The Cats are 6-21 overall against Tennessee, and have lost the last five games played against the Volunteers. The Cats last win occurred in April 2010 in Knoxville, a 14-9 victory.  The Cats are 4-15 in games played in Knoxville. 

Positional Starters Returning/Lost: 8/2
Pitchers Returning/Lost: 11/3
Letterwinners Returning/Lost: 21/8
Newcomers: 17

The Vols’ current rankings are as follows: USA Today (#9), NCBWA (#10), (#12), Baseball America (#16), Perfect Game (#15), Collegiate Baseball News (#27).  

After finishing 2020 ranked second nationally in home runs with 31, the Vols have continued to hit the long ball at a high rate.  UT is averaging over one homer per game and ranks 26th in the country with 24 this season. Drew Gilbert and Jordan Beck are tied for the team lead with five homers each. Jake Rucker (3), Luc Lipcius (3), Liam Spence (2), and Max Ferguson (2) have also gone yard multiple times. 

The Vols enter this weekend ranked in the top 30 nationally in hits (8th – 206), runs (9th – 161), doubles (20th – 41), triples (4th – 9), home runs (26th - 24) and walks (4th – 126).

Tennessee’s bullpen has been impressive in the early going this season, posting an 11-1 record and 2.42 ERA in 115.1 innings of work.  The bullpen has combined for 125 strikeouts compared to just 30 walks and is holding opposing hitters to a .215 batting average.

The Volunteers have faced two SoCon teams this season, a three-game series vs. UNCG and 1 game vs. ETSU, winning all four games.  

Projected Pitching Match-Up:
WCU – Jr. RHP Ryan Mitschele (2-1, 3.86 ERA) vs. UT – Soph. RHP Mark McLaughlin (1-0, 2.57 ERA)