Tennessee's Pitching, Defense Can't Be Ignored (Video)
No one has beaten Tennessee this season in eight tries. At this rate, even scoring on the Volunteers is cause for at least a minor celebration.
Let's take a look at the numbers through eight games.
- A staff ERA of 0.50
- 94 strikeouts in 72 innings
- They've allowed just four earned runs
- A .123 opponent average
And while some of Tennessee's early season opponents don't match what awaits the Volunteers in SEC play, it's not as if they were eight layups, either. Tennessee swept Indiana, a team we projected to make the NCAA Tournament and Teddy Cahill's preseason "sleeper" to watch.
Tennessee's start under second-year head coach Tony Vitello has the attention of Baseball America college analyst, and former Coach of the Year Dave Serrano.
The numbers are impressive, yes, but Serrano said the most glaring aspect of Tennessee's pitching is the sheer depth. Two starters—Sean Hunley and Zach Linginfelter—haven't allowed an earned run yet. Garrett Crochet has 18 strikeouts in 9 1/3 innings out of the bullpen and could probably start if called upon. Even the freshmen on the roster look like potential mainstays in Serrano's eyes.
"They finally have the depth of what it takes to be successful in the SEC," Serrano said.
And that could unlock new ground later this spring for the Volunteers, who sit right outside the Baseball America Top 25.
“Tennessee has the makings of having a pitching staff and a defense that can take them into the SEC Tournament and beyond for the first time in a very long time," Serrano said.
Check out the full video above. Tennessee returns to action Wednesday against Middle Tennessee State (4-3) at 4:30 p.m. ET.