Baseball Preview: #2 Vols Face Missouri on SEC Opening Weekend

Baseball Preview: #2 Vols Face Missouri on SEC Opening Weekend

COLUMBIA, Mo. – The 2023 SEC Opening Weekend is here and with it the second-ranked Tennessee Volunteers take to the road to open conference play, traveling to Missouri to face the Tigers in a three-game set beginning Friday afternoon at Taylor Stadium.

The Vols (15-3, 0-0 SEC) begin their conference campaign and defense of the 2022 SEC regular-season championship after posting a 25-5 record and rolling their way through the league a season ago.

With temperatures forecasted in the 30s and 40s throughout the weekend, the Vols will look to keep the bats hot, having homered multiple times in nine of their last 11 games. Tennessee also will look to maintain its strong defense as the Big Orange has only committed eight errors in 2023 on 608 chances.


Game 1 – Friday, March 17 (4 p.m. ET | 3 p.m. CT)
RHP Chase Dollander (3-1, 2.45 ERA) vs. RHP Chandler Murphy (2-1, 3.48 ERA)

Game 2 – Saturday, March 18 (3 p.m. | 2 p.m. CT)
RHP Chase Burns (2-0, 1.88 ERA) vs. RHP Rorik Maltrud (1-0, 3.07 ERA)

Game 3 – Sunday, March 19 (2 p.m. | 1 p.m. CT)
RHP Drew Beam (3-0, 2.57 ERA) vs. TBD


All three games of the weekend series will stream on SEC Network+ and the ESPN app with Noah Reed (PxP) and Spencer Jurgens (Analyst) on the call. The online broadcast can be accessed on any mobile device through WatchESPN. WatchESPN can be accessed through the ESPN App, or online at

Fans can also listen to the Voice of Tennessee Baseball, John Wilkerson, call the action on the Vol Network (FM 99.1/AM 990) or via a free audio stream on and the Tennessee Athletics Gameday App.  


Overall: Missouri leads, 14-13
in Knoxville: 7-8
in Columbia: 6-6
at Neutral Sites: 0-0
Last 10 Meetings: 7-3
Last Meeting: W, 4-3 (April 10, 2022, in Knoxville)


After another successful start to the year, the Vols enter SEC play with a 15-3 record. In each of the past five seasons, Tennessee has entered league play with at least 15 wins: (17-1 in 2019, 15-2 in 2020, 15-3 in 2021, 16-1 in 2022, 15-3 in 2023).
The Big Orange will be looking to notch their third straight series win on SEC Opening Weekend after taking two of three at Georgia in 2021 and sweeping South Carolina at home last season.
Tennessee is 12-16 in SEC openers on the road since 1980 and 33-45 overall in SEC openers.
The Vols have been on a major power surge entering SEC play with multiple homers in nine of their last 11 games, including six games of three or more long balls in that span
Tennessee put together one of the most dominant seasons in SEC history in 2022, winning both the SEC Regular Season and SEC Tournament championships for the first time since 1995. The Vols posted their best record in league play in program history, going 25-5 en route to winning the SEC regular season title by six games, and the eastern division crown by 10 games, both of which are the largest margins in conference history. The Vols have won the last two SEC Eastern Division crowns and will look to make it three in a row this season for just the second time in program history (1993-95).
Tennessee was the first team to start SEC play 12-0 in the history of the conference, surpassing the previous record of 11-0 held by LSU (1991), Ole Miss (1964) and Alabama (1940). UT is 45-15 in SEC play over the past two seasons, by far the best record in the league. The only other program with 40 wins in that span is Arkansas (40-20). The next closest Eastern Division team is Vanderbilt at 33-26.
Two VFLs represented the Vols in the 2023 World Baseball Classic. Liam Spence and Team Australia made it through the Group Stage before being eliminated by Cuba in the quarterfinals, while Julio Borbon served as the first base coach for the Dominican Republic.
Missouri Tigers

  • 2023 Record: 13-3 (0-0 SEC)
  • 2022 Record: 28-23 (10-20 SEC)
  • 2022 Postseason: 
  • 2023 SEC Preseason Poll: 7th Eastern Division
  • 2023 Preseason All-SEC
    • First Team: Luke Mann (3B)
  • Head Coach: Steve Bieser (Fourth season)
  • Stat Leaders:
    • Average: Dalton Bargo (.382)
    • OBP: Hank Zeisler (.500)
    • SLG: Hank Zeisler (.500)
    • Hits: Luke Mann (23)
    • Runs: Luke Mann, Hank Zeisler (18)
    • RBIs: Hank Zeisler (23)
    • Doubles: Ty Wilmsmeyer (5)
    • Triples: Dalton Bargo (2)
    • Home Runs: Hank Zeisler (8)
    • ERA: Logan Lunceford (2.38)
    • WHIP: Zach Franklin (0.73)
    • BAA: Zach Franklin (.140)
    • Innings Pitched: Chandler Murphy (20.2)
    • Strikeouts: Zach Franklin (29)
    • Wins: Zach Franklin (3)
    • Saves: Four tied (1)

Tennessee returns to Rocky Top and welcomes Western Carolina to Lindsey Nelson Stadium on Tuesday, March 21, at 6:30 p.m. ET.

Tickets for non-conference home games can be purchased at

-UT Athletics

Vols RHP Seth Halvorsen / Credit: UT Athletics

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