Week 2 of SEC play is upon us, let's take a deep dive into the Tennessee Volunteers
Team: This name comes from the nickname of Tennessee, The Volunteer State. The name “Volunteers,” or “Vols,” root from a now-official nickname that Tennessee received during the War of 1812. The name "Volunteers" also reflects the Tennessee volunteers who came to the assistance of the Texans during Texas's 1836 War for Independence from Mexico. The name became even more prominent in the Mexican-American War of 1846 when Governor Aaron V. Brown issued a call for 2,800 men to battle Santa Ana and some 30,000 Tennesseans volunteered.
Location: Knoxville, Tennessee
In the Majors: 10 players drafted last year, 3 current active MLB players.
Most Famous Alumni: Peyton Manning, thrower of footballs, uncle to Football God Arch Manning, and forehead the size of Neyland. Woody Paige, old man from Around the Horn. Dolly Parton, singer, aunt to Miley Cyrus, lover of hairspray.
Conference: SEC East
History: A&M leads 10-6 but 2-4 in the Tony V Era
Location: Lindsey Nelson Stadium
Left Field: 320 ft (98 m)
Left-Center Field: 360 ft (110 m)
Center Field: 390 ft (120 m)
Right-Center Field: 360 ft (110 m)
Right Field: 320 ft (98 m)
NCAA Tournament Appearances: 12 (3 in a row)
2022 Season: 57-9 (25-5) Lost in the Super Regional to Notre Dame
2023 Season: 16-6 (0-3)
The first road test for the Aggies is a tough one. Yes, the defending champs are 0-3 in conference, and yes, they have yet to beat a team from a power conference, but this is a tough matchup for the Aggies.
Three MLB draft ready arms await an Aggie team that at times has struggled with striking out. Dollander, Burns, and Beam will be the toughest trio the Aggies have faced to this point. Dollander is the Friday guy and a consensus top pick in the upcoming draft, 2 spots ahead of Paul Skenes who gave the Aggies fits last weekend. We should expect A+ grade fastball around 95-97 mph, and on occasion up to 99. His best secondary pitch is a tight slider that parks in the mid-80s and reaches 91 mph and it can be a well-above-average offering with sweep at its best. He will look to rebound after a rough outing against Missouri. Chase Burns was a National Freshman of the Year, and a dark horse to win the Golden Spikes Award. He has looked the part, limiting opposing batters to a sub .200 ERA. A common theme for all these aces is a high strikeout to walk ratio and Burns is no different. He was a Saturday guy but pitched Sunday against Missouri. Beam has been the best pitcher this year for the Vols with a 2.25 ERA.
Hitting wise, look out for Mahi Ahuna at shortstop. The Kansas transfer has been dealing with the NCAA and has started slow. He is an MLB bat and a wizard up the middle. Christian Moore and Blake Burke are two dangerous bats in the middle of the Vols order. Both have light tower power and have been tearing the cover off the ball to start the year.
Overall look for an exciting series, and a big win for Schloss and the boys if they take 2 of 3. This is the SEC home opener for the Vols, so expect a hostile crowd. First pitch is 5:30 CST.