Baseball Weekend Preview: Vols at Vanderbilt

Hunter Martin - UT / Credit: UT Athletics

Baseball Weekend Preview: Vols at Vanderbilt

Hunter Martin – UT / Credit: UT Athletics

KNOXVILLE, Tenn. — Tennessee Baseball visits the Vanderbilt Commodores for a three-game series this weekend (Friday, April 28 – Sunday, April 29) in Nashville, Tenn.

The Volunteers enter their weekend conference matchup against Vandy with a 21-17 overall record, including a 5-13 mark in Southeastern Conference play. The Commodores own a 25-16 record and are currently 9-9 in SEC competition this year.

In the last weekend series between the in-state rivals, Tennessee took two of three games against the Commodores in Knoxville, while Vanderbilt managed a 6-0 win in the series opener.

All three games of UT’s weekend series are slated for viewing via SEC Network + (April 28) and SEC Network broadcasts (April 29-30), with former Tennessee Baseball All-American Chris Burke and play-by-play broadcaster Tom Hart on the call.

Tennessee enters the weekend series versus Vanderbilt following an 8-1 win in its Wednesday night contest against ETSU at Smokies Stadium. The win came after Tennessee’s 14-inning thriller in the series finale at Texas A&M last Sunday which marked UT’s first-ever victory in College Station, Texas.

On the season, the Volunteers are scheduled to play 15 of their 55 regular season games against five 2016 NCAA postseason participants.

Weekend Rotation Matchups

  • Fri. April 28 at 7:30 p.m. ET – RHP Hunter Martin (4-4, 3.31 ERA) vs. RHP Patrick Raby (6-3, 2.53)
  • Sat. April 29 at 5:00 p.m. ET – RHP Garrett Stallings (2-1, 3.09 ERA) vs. RHP Kyle Wright (2-4, 3.51)
  • Sun. April 30 at 4:00 p.m. ET – LHP Zach Warren (2-4, 5.32 ERA) vs. RHP Chandler Day (6-1, 3.48)

Tennessee vs. Vanderbilt

  • All-time vs. VU: UT leads 173-153-2
  • In Knoxville: UT leads, 61-31
  • In Nashville: VU leads, 54-44
  • Last 10 Games: Tied at 5-5
  • Last Meeting: Vols won, 5-3, in Knoxville (4/24/16)

Commodore Watch

  • Vanderbilt won three of the team’s four games last week, recording a 21-2 victory at Middle Tennessee on Tuesday before taking two-of-three games at Georgia over the weekend.
  • Offensively, VU is led by Julian Infante who boasts a .348 average, 57 hits and 11 doubles. Three other Commodores boast averages above .300, including Will Toffey who leads the team in RBI with 40.
  • RHP Kyle Wright was named SEC Pitcher of the Week and one of Collegiate Baseball’s National Players of the Week for his three-hit shutout of Florida on April 13. The junior struck out a career-best 13 with no walks while scattering the three singles.

Tennessee on [Rocky] Top

UT on NCAA charts (as of April 26):

  • Team ERA: 47th (3.76)
  • Team Hits Allowed/Nine Innings: 43rd (8.29)
  • Team WHIP: 42nd (1.29)
  • Jordan Rodgers: 1.57 hits per game (26th)
  • Hunter Martin: two complete games (24th) and 10 games started (35th)

As a team, Tennessee ranks among the SEC’s Top 10 in the following categories (as of April 26):

  • Batting Average: 8th (.277)
  • On Base Percentage: 7th (.369)
  • Team Hits: 10th (366)
  • Team Triples: 2nd (12)
  • Team Walks: 7th (167)
  • Team Stolen Bases: 6th (43)
  • Team ERA: 8th (3.76)
  • Batters Struck Out Looking: T-9th (104)
  • Runners Picked Off: 8th (5)
  • Fewest Hits Allowed: 6th (317)
  • Fewest Runs Allowed: 6th (169)
  • Fewest Walks Allowed: 5th (127)
  • Fewest Doubles Allowed: T-2nd (54)
  • Fewest Home Runs Allowed: 4th (21)
  • Double Plays Turned: 7th (32)

Vols rank among the SEC’s Top 10 in the following categories (as of April 26):

  • Jeff Moberg: three triples (T-2nd) and 9 HBP (T-9th)
  • Jordan Rodgers: .377 average (3rd), .571 slugging percentage (7th) 58 hits (T-6th) and 88 total bases (T-9th)
  • Pete Derkay: .451 OBP (6th), 29 walks (7th) and 1.000 fielding percentage (T-1st)
  • Andre Lipcius: 326 putouts (4th) and 29 double plays fielded (5th)
  • Dom Thornton: 1.000 fielding percentage (T-1st)
  • Hunter Martin: 65.1 innings pitched (4th), 65 batters struck out (9th), 26 batters struck out looking (T-3rd) and fewest walks allowed (12 – T-10th)
  • Garrett Stallings: fewest walks allowed (9 – T-4th)
  • Will Neely: fewest hits allowed (32 – 3rd)
  • Zach Linginfelter: two runners picked off (T-8th) and fewest hits allowed (37 – T-9th)
  • Jon Lipinski: 15 games finished (4th)

The 2017 Volunteers

  • The Vols’ 2017 roster boasts 17 newcomers including 14 true freshmen, two JUCO transfers and one graduate transfer.
  • Keep on Walking: With his walk last Sunday night vs. Texas A&M, Pete Derkay owns a team-leading 29 walks on the season, which ranks 7th in the SEC through 38 games.
  • Rodger(s) That: Senior Jordan Rodgers has reached base safely in every game started this year (37), while his .377 batting average currently ranks third-best in the SEC.
  • More on Martin…: Senior Hunter Martin ranks tied for third in the SEC with 26 batters stuck out looking as well as fourth with 65.1 innings pitched on the year. With his complete game effort last Friday at Texas A&M, Martin became the first UT pitcher to record multiple complete games in a single season since Zack Godley did so in 2013 (6).
  • The Vols have combined for 96 extra-base hits this year, including 23 home runs (surpassing 2016’s complete season total).
  • Despite losing seven positional starters from the 2016 season, UT returns 18 lettermen including six true seniors.

Winning Wednesdays

  • The Volunteers continued their winning ways on Wednesdays as they struck early in the Smoky Mountain Challenge against the ETSU Buccaneers, plating one run in the first inning en route to recording an 8-1 win at Smokies Stadium — home of the Tennessee Smokies.
  • Jeff Moberg (3-for-5, RBI) and Jordan Rodgers (2-for-3, 3 RBI) paced UT’s offense. The Vols’ bats combined for five extra-base hits, including Rodgers’ sixth home run of the season in the second of three midweek matchups with ETSU.
  • Sophomore righty Will Neely went 7.0 innings in the start, allowing one run on four hits and striking out five to earn his second win of the season.
  • The matchup in Smokies Stadium marked Tennessee’s fourth game played in the minor league ballpark since 2002 and the Vols’ first win. The previous three games were played as part of the Tennessee Classic, an exhibition series between the Vols and the Double-A Smokies.
  • The Orange and White last played in Smokies Stadium on April 4, 2006, when the then-Double-A affiliate of the Arizona Diamondbacks defeated UT, 8-0.

On Deck for the Vols

  • Tennessee returns home on Tuesday, May 2 to host ETSU in the final matchup between the programs this season before welcoming Arkansas to Rocky Top on Thursday, May 4 – Saturday, May 6.

-UT Athletics


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