10. A New Baseball Era Begins
For the third time since the end of the 2007 season, Tennessee’s baseball team was headed up by a new head coach. Tony Vitello started his Tennessee tenure as the Vols’ new head baseball coach in 2018, and it had some promising results.
The baseball Vols showed more grit and better fundamentals under Vitello than they did under previous head coach Dave Serrano, but ultimately Vitello’s young squad failed to meet their goals. Tennessee’s baseball team didn’t make it back to the SEC Tournament for the second-straight year, though the team as a whole showed a lot of improvement from the massively disappointing 2017 campaign that saw the Vols go just 7-21 against SEC foes.
Vitello’s first season as UT’s head coach saw the team go 29-27 overall and 12-18 in SEC play. Though this season marked the 13th consecutive losing conference season for the Vols, their 12 SEC wins were the most since the 2014 Vols also went 12-18 in conference play. It also marked only the second time in the last eight seasons that Tennessee’s baseball team won 12 SEC games.
The team’s goals weren’t met, but Vitello’s first season as UT’s head baseball coach saw some excitement return to Lindsey Nelson Stadium, and the team showed some improvement.