The Tennessee baseball team is moving back in the right direction this week, in relation to the national polls. The Vols find themselves ranked inside five of the six national polls, stemming from a 3-1 week and a series-sweep over a consensus top-10 program.
UT bounced back in a major way this past weekend, sweeping Vanderbilt with a combined score of 31-9. With the series-sweep, Tennessee moved from five Southeastern Conference wins to eight and are now just two games under .500 with four series left to play.
Tennessee’s biggest leap this week came in the Perfect Game top-25 where the Vols slid into the eighth spot in the rankings. Last week, the Vols checked in at No. 19 after falling victim to the sweep at Arkansas. Tennessee tied Coastal Carolina for the second-biggest move in the poll at +11, while Dallas Baptist moved the most, up to No. 6 from No. 18.
D1 Baseball has the Vols checking in at No. 24 this week. Just ahead of UTSA and right after Oregon following the weekend sweep. The publication previously had Tennessee outside of the top-25 for the first-time last week.
The USA Today Coaches Poll saw Tony Vitello’s club move up four spots from No. 20 to No. 16. The Collegiate Baseball Newspaper has the Vols at No. 26 in its top-30 poll this week after being previously unranked. Baseball America still has the Vols unranked this week despite sweeping its No. 5 team (Vanderbilt).
The National Collegiate Baseball Writers Association tabbed Tennessee at No. 18 this week, moving up three positions.
To begin the season, the Vols were slated at No. 2 in each of the D1 Baseball, USA Today, NCBWA, Perfect Game and Baseball America preseason polls. The Collegiate Baseball Newspaper picked the Vols as the fifth-best preseason team back in February.
Tennessee in the weekly polls (April 24)
Perfect Game – No. 8
USA Today – No. 16
NCBWA – No. 18
D1 Baseball – No. 24
Collegiate Baseball – No. 26
Baseball America – NR
Chase Burns named Co-SEC Pitcher of the Week
The two dominant relief appearances from Chase Burns in Tennessee’s weekend sweep of Vanderbilt earned the sophomore right-hander SEC Co-Pitcher of the Week honors on Monday.
Burns got the win in relief in the Vols’ walk-off win Friday night and sat the ‘Dores down in order to finish the three-game sweep Sunday afternoon at Lindsey Nelson Stadium in Knoxville.
Burns retired 11 of the 12 Vanderbilt batters he faced over the two appearances. He entered Friday with a runner on and no outs in the top of the 10th and struck out three straight batters to get out of the inning. He pitched the final three innings Friday night, recording seven of his nine outs via strikeout.
“His outing was impressive enough I don’t have words for it,” Tennessee coach Tony Vitello said Friday night after his team’s 4-3 win in 12 innings, “and yet, I’ll stop myself and say he’s capable of that. And about everybody that has seen him throw this year knows that. The stuff has ticked up even a bit from last year.”
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