Updated: Apr 6
The Vols will be hosting the No. 3 team in the country and SEC foe, Florida, for a three-game series at Lindsey Nelson Stadium starting on Thursday. This series comes after the Vols lost their series at LSU, where they dropped the first two games before bouncing back and winning the third. Although Tennessee did outscore LSU 20-18 across all three games, they could not secure the series win. The Vols had an opportunity to sweep LSU, but couldn't cash in after a handful of mental mistakes.
Photo by Cayce Smith/Tennessee Athletics
Without a midweek game this week, Tennessee has had time to regroup and prepare for their upcoming series against Florida. Although the Vols have a 6-2 record over the last two seasons against Florida, this year's Gator team is much improved and has not lost a series yet. With a 25-5 overall record and a 7-2 record in the SEC, Florida has been putting up impressive numbers. The Gators are currently sitting behind only LSU in total runs scored this season, averaging ten runs per game. However, their pitching is a weak spot, with a combined 4.86 ERA which places them 75th in the country. The Gators have allowed at least five runs in seven of their nine SEC games so far this season, holding a 6.11 ERA in conference.
Florida's star-studded lineup will be led by sophomore Jac Caglianone, who has been one of the best players in the country this season. Caglianone has hit .403 with 18 homers in 30 games and is a front runner for the Golden Spikes Award. He is also the Sunday starter for the Gators, flashing an upper 90s fastball at times, with seven starts under his belt and 38 strikeouts in 32.1 innings pitched. Other players to watch out for on the Florida team are junior OF Wyatt Langford, junior SS Josh Rivera, and freshman 2B Cade Kurland.
The Vols, currently ranked eighth in the country, have not quite lived up to expectations this year but have shown their potential. They have the second-best ERA in the nation at 2.72 and will be looking to hold down Florida's potent offense. Tennessee's offense has started to come around as well after their 14-7 win against LSU last Saturday. The starting pitching, however, still has some things to work through. Chase Dollander and Chase Burns have shown flashes of brilliance but have also struggled with command. Expect to see high strikeout numbers and some runs against the Tennessee rotation this weekend.
Overall, this weekend series is shaping up to be an exciting one, with the electric atmosphere of Lindsey Nelson Stadium adding to the already intense rivalry between the two teams. Fans can expect a competitive matchup between two powerhouse teams in college baseball.
Brandon Sproat (4-1, 5.45 ERA) v. Chase Dollander (4-2, 3.92 ERA)
Hurston Waldrep (5-1, 4.74 ERA) v. Chase Burns (2-2, 4.97 ERA)
Jac Caglianone (3-0, 4.18 ERA) v. Drew Beam (3-1, 2.51 ERA)