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SEC Baseball Preview: The Vols Are Flying High Into Conference Play

With two outs in the bottom of the 10th inning, sophomore Jordan Beck lifted the No. 10 Tennessee Volunteers to victory over ETSU with a three-run homer and into SEC play with a bang.

The blast was Beck’s second of the night and fifth of the season.  The sophomore went 3-for-6 Tuesday night, improving on a 2 of 28 skid going into the game. The winning home run was the last play before conference games ramp up for the Vols. The moment serves as an exclamation point to Beck’s resurgence and Tennessee’s early-season success.

The Vols (15-3) now face Georgia (13-3) in what marks the beginning of a grueling stretch. Here’s what to know about the Bulldogs and the rest of the SEC.

Road Trip

  • Tennessee begins its conference journey down in Athens, Georgia. The Vols have won 9 of their last 10 games, while the Dawgs are winners of six straight.
  • Tennessee’s only road loss came against Charlotte, which resulted in a 9-0 defeat. Georgia has lost to Evansville and North Florida at Foley Field.
  • Sophomore Jonathan Cannon and senior Ryan Webb highlight the potency of the Bulldog pitching staff. Both are ranked in the top-2o of D1 Baseball 2021 Top Prospects/Impact Freshman list.
  • Cannon hasn’t surrendered a run in his last 17.1 innings, dating back to last year. Webb is the lead man for UGA. The lefty is a veteran with 44 appearances and a 3.77 ERA. He hasn’t allowed a run in 12.2 innings this season.
  • At the plate, redshirt junior Connor Tate ignites the offense. Tate has reached safely in all but three games for Georgia. The infielder is hitting .410 with two home runs and 13 RBI. He has a twin brother, Cole who is also on the team.

SEC Landscape

 

SEC

 

  • Tennessee, LSU (No.15), and Texas A&M lead the conference in total wins with 15.
  • No.1 Arkansas and Kentucky have played the least amount of games (14).
  • Vanderbilt comes in right behind the Razorbacks in the USA Today poll, followed by Mississippi State and Mississippi. Florida rounds out the top-5 to make it an all-SEC affair.
  • South Carolina fell nine spots to No.17 in the latest rankings after being swept by then-No.19 Texas. The Gamecocks lost again on Wednesday to Davidson, 9-4. USC is going the wrong way after winning its first 11 games.
  • Alabama goes into SEC play ranked No.24 in the AP Poll. The Crimson Tide will be hitting the road to face the top-ranked Hawgs. It will be the first ranked opponent for Bama.
  • Despite beating Boston College, Auburn lost the three-game series with the Eagles. The other three losses came against Oklahoma and Baylor.
  • Missouri has won four of five after going 3-9 to begin the season. The Tigers were picked by the coaches to finish at the bottom of the East Division along with Kentucky.

How Vols Compare in SEC

The Vols are approximately right where they are expected to be, at least by the coaches’ standards. Tennessee was picked to finish third in the East behind UF and Vandy. Ole Miss and MSU topped the West, respectively.

So here the Vols sit at No.10 in the country, but just sixth in their conference.

It will be a long, hard road for Tennessee, but the Vols have the explosiveness and grit to trek through the toughest league in all of the land. With the vigor bestowed by Beck and others this season, the Volunteers should be able to avoid Dead Man’s Curve.

Welcome to the SEC, it’s going to be a wild ride.

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