Baseball Preview: #8 Vols Ready for Battle with #2 Florida

Baseball Preview: #8 Vols Ready for Battle with #2 Florida

KNOXVILLE, Tenn. – Facing another top-five opponent, the No. 8/11-ranked Tennessee Volunteers are back on Rocky Top and ready for a weekend showdown with No. 2/3 Florida at Lindsey Nelson Stadium beginning Thursday night at 8 p.m. ET.

The Vols (21-8, 4-5 SEC) will have three chances to play in the eyes of the nation as all three weekend games will be broadcast on the ESPN family of networks. Tennessee looks to keep the hot bats going that it had in Sunday’s series finale at LSU when the Big Orange struck for 14 runs on 17 hits against the Tigers.

Florida (25-5, 7-2 SEC) brings with it a very potent offense, one that ranks top-10 nationally in batting average, scoring, hits and homers. That offensive attack will look to be slowed by Tennessee’s pitching which ranks No. 2 in the country in both ERA (2.72) and WHIP (1.03) and features Golden Spikes Award Midseason Watch List honorees Chase Dollander and Chase Burns.

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 and single-game tickets for all remaining home contests are SOLD OUT. Limited standing room only tickets will go on sale for all games two hours prior to first pitch at the Lindsey Nelson Stadium ticket office.

Single-game tickets for all games can also be purchased through Ticketmaster, 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 transfer your tickets to someone else (Instructions HERE).

BROADCAST INFO

All three games this weekend will be televised with Tom Hart (PxP) and VFL Chris Burke (Analyst) calling the action. Thursday’s game will be broadcast on ESPNU, Friday’s on SEC Network and Saturday’s series finale on ESPN2.

The broadcasts can also 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, and Vince Ferrara call the action on the Vol Network (FM 99.1/AM 990) or via a free audio stream on UTSports.com and the Tennessee Athletics Gameday App.  

WEEKEND SCHEDULE/PROJECTED STARTING PITCHERS

Game 1 – Thursday, April 6 (8 p.m. ET) [ESPNU]
RHP Chase Dollander (4-2, 3.92 ERA) vs. RHP Brandon Sproat (4-1, 5.45 ERA)

Game 2 – Friday, April 7 (7 p.m. ET) [SEC Network]
RHP Chase Burns (2-2, 4.97 ERA) vs. RHP Hurston Waldrep (5-1, 4.74 ERA)

Game 3 – Saturday, April 8 (2 p.m. ET) [ESPN2]
RHP Drew Beam (3-1, 2.51 ERA) vs. LHP Jac Caglianone (3-0, 4.18 ERA)

SERIES HISTORY

Overall: Florida leads, 154-94
In Knoxville: Florida leads, 67-48
In Gainesville: Florida lead, 83-44
at Neutral Sites: Florida leads, 4-2
Last 10 Meetings: Tennessee leads, 9-1
Last Meeting: W, 8-5 (May 29, 2022, in Hoover, Alabama)

The last meeting between Tennessee and Florida came in the SEC Tournament Championship when the Vols downed the Gators, 8-5, to claim the fourth conference tournament championship in program history.
 
The Vols went 4-0 against Florida in 2022, the last time Tennessee went undefeated against the Gators in the same calendar year before that was in 1994.
 
Tennessee has also tied its longest-ever win streak against Florida. The Vols have never taken six games in a row from UF and the only other time UT had won five-straight came between 1970-72.

NOTABLE

BATS ARE HEATING UP
Tennessee is coming off a solid series offensively at LSU despite facing one of the nation’s better pitching staffs. The Big Orange batted .292 as a team and outscored the Tigers’ high-powered offense 20-18 for the series.
 
PLAYING THE BEST
For the second consecutive weekend, Tennessee finds itself in a battle of top-10 teams as the No. 8/11 Vols host No. 2/3 Florida at Lindsey Nelson Stadium. The Big Orange are 4-2 against ranked teams so far this season after sweeping then No. 12 Texas A&M two weekends ago before dropping two of three games at No. 1 LSU last week in Baton Rouge.
 
Since Tony Vitello became UT’s head coach in 2018, the Vols have posted 53 wins over ranked foes, including 22 victories over teams ranked in the top 10 and seven wins over top-ranked teams – LSU in 2023, Ole Miss (x3) in 2022, Arkansas in 2021, Texas Tech in 2020 and Florida in 2018.
 
Vitello’s record against ranked teams at Tennessee is 53-45 and UT has won 13 series over ranked teams since 2018, including five last season.

ROCKY TOP TRULY IS HOME SWEET HOME
Tennessee has been extremely tough to beat at home over the past three-plus years thanks in large part to having one of the best home field advantages in college baseball.
 
The Vols are 100-17 when playing at Lindsey Nelson Stadium since the start of the 2020 season and continue to set attendance records along the way.
 
UT sold out 29 of its 45 home games last season and set new program records for total (181,517) and average attendance (4,221). 46 of UT’s 50 highest single-game attendance marks have come since the start of the 2021 season (all over 4,000).
 
The Big Orange have sold out 11 of their 20 home games already this season and have posted an attendance of over 4,000 in all 20 of those contests.
 
In its win over Gonzaga on March 4, Tennessee recorded the second highest attendance for a game in program history (5,037), while the March 7 midweek contest against Boston College came in at No. 3 (4,749).
 
CAMDEN SEWELL VS. THE GATORS
Tennessee veteran reliever Camden Sewell has been at his best when facing off against the Gators throughout his career. In five career appearances, including two starts in the SEC Tournament, Sewell has carved up Florida hitters to post a 2-0 record and a pair of saves.
 
In last season’s SEC Championship game against the Gators, Sewell made his first and only start of the year to help lead UT to its first SEC Tournament title in the tournament’s current format and its first overall since 1995.
 
Sewell also shut down the Gators with six shutout innings to help the Vols advance to the 2021 SEC Tournament Championship game.

OPPONENT SCOUT

Florida Gators

  • 2023 Record: 25-5 (7-2 SEC)
  • 2022 Record: 42-24 (15-15 SEC)
  • 2022 Postseason: Gainesville Regional Final
  • 2023 SEC Preseason Poll: 2nd in Eastern Division (2 first-place votes)
  • 2023 Preseason All-SEC Team
    • First Team: BT Riopelle (C), Wyatt Langford (OF)
    • Second Team: Hurston Waldrep (SP)
  • Head Coach: Kevin O’Sullivan (16th season)
  • Stat Leaders:
    • Average: Josh Rivera (.411)
    • OBP: Wyatt Langford (.552)
    • SLG: Jac Caglianone (.935)
    • Hits: Jac Caglianone (50)
    • Runs: Josh Rivera (43)
    • RBIs: Jac Caglianone (46)
    • Doubles: Wyatt Langford (10)
    • Triples: Wyatt Langford, Colby Halter (3)
    • Home Runs: Jac Caglianone (18)
    • Stolen Bases: Josh Rivera (10)
    • ERA: Jac Caglianone (4.18)
    • WHIP: Brandon Sproat (1.18)
    • BAA: Jac Caglianone (.181)
    • Innings Pitched: Hurston Waldrep (38.0)
    • Strikeouts: Hurston Waldrep (66)
    • Wins: Hurston Waldrep (5)
    • Saves: Brandon Neely (6)

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 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.

Friday SEC Block Parties

This week’s block party will take place on Friday night, prior to Game 2 of the series. Gates will open at 5 p.m. for ticketed fans on Pat Head Summitt Street (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 to add to the electricity in 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 host Eastern Kentucky for a midweek on Tuesday, April 11, at 6:30 p.m. ET at Lindsey Nelson Stadium. The game will be broadcast on SEC Network+.

Tickets for the game can be purchased by visiting AllVols.com.

-UT Athletics

UT Baseball / Credit: UT Athletics

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