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SEC: Illinois v. Tennessee Weekend Preview

By Sam Thornton

The Tennessee Volunteers will host Illinois this weekend for a three-game series at Lindsey-Nelson Stadium. The Vols have been on a roll to start the year, winning 12 straight games and boasting a 13-1 record. This is the last non-conference weekend for Tennessee before heading into SEC play. 

(Photo by Ryan Beatty/Tennessee Athletics)

Tennessee has not had a full series against a power conference opponent yet this season. Illinois fits that bill, however, the quality is not much different from what the Vols have faced the last couple weekends. The lineup comes in slashing an astounding .327/.434/.626 on the year. Tennessee is carrying the fifth best slugging percentage and fifth most home runs hit on the year. The middle of the order with Billy Amick, Kavares Tears, and Christian Moore has been a powerful threat that has led the Vols to scoring over 10 runs per game. 

Illinois has had somewhat of a rocky start to the 2024 season. The Fighting Illini are 5-6 and have been projected by many to finish near the bottom of the Big 10 this year. That being said, they have shown flashes of talent at the plate, scoring an average of 6.4 runs per game. Most of that scoring production has come from the top of the order and has been a result of stringing hits together. This Illinois team is not one that will be mentioned in a discussion about teams that hit for power. The biggest issue Illinois has faced to this point is the pitching and defense. The Illini have allowed 73 runs, 63 earned, against them in their 11 games. 

Players to Watch:

Illinois: 1B Drake Westcott, C Camden Janick, SS Cal Hejza

Tennessee: 2B Christian Moore, 3B Billy Amick, OF Robin Villeneuve

Projected Pitching Matchups:

Game 1: Jack Crowder (0-0, 7.07 ERA) v. AJ Casuey (2-0, 1.23 ERA)

Game 2: Logan Tabeling (0-1, 5.40 ERA) v. Drew Beam (2-0, 2.16 ERA)

Game 3: TBD v. TBD 


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