Tennessee right-handed pitcher Zach Linginfelter was named the SEC Pitcher of the Week on Monday afternoon. It’s the first time Linginfelter has earned the honor in his UT career.
Against Indiana on Saturday, the junior struck out 13 Hoosiers, one shy of his career-high. In six shutout innings, Linginfelter allowed just two hits and two walks as he improved to 2-0 on the young season. His 13 strikeouts helped Tennessee tie a single-game program record with 21 total strikeouts as a team.
“I thought it was the best game he has pitched at the University of Tennessee,” head coach Tony Vitello said following the game. “He keeps getting better and better, and I hope we get to experience some more like that while he’s here.”
In his first start of the season against Appalachian State last Saturday, Linginfelter was lights out. He pitched five scoreless innings allowing just two hits and striking out five as he picked up the win.
“He’s gotten much more mature with his routine in between outings,” Vitello said. “To be honest with you, when he took his shirt off the other day, I was kind of surprised he’s pretty ripped up right now.
“He was a lot of baby fat when we first got here. Not that I’m walking around judging our guys and trying to see who can be the next J Crew model or anything, but he wasn’t in the best of shape in a lot of ways when we first got here.”
On the season, Linginfelter hasn’t allowed a run. His 0.00 ERA is tied for not only best in the conference, but in the country. Opponents are hitting just .111 off of the Sevierville, Tennessee native this season, which ranks fifth in the SEC.
“It’s really just a combination of my fastball and slider,” Linginfelter said following Saturday’s game. “Mostly just getting ahead and working good counts. Getting them to chase late in the counts.”
Linginfelter is the first Tennessee pitcher to be named SEC Pitcher of the Week since Bret Marks was awarded the honor on March 16, 2015.
As a freshman in 2017, Linginfelter appeared in 22 games and started six. He earned a 3-4 record in 56.1 innings. He had an ERA of 3.67 and struck out 61 batters while walking 25. Last year, Linginfelter started four games and appeared in 18 total, going 3-4 overall. He had an ERA of 3.93 in 55 innings, striking out 71 hitters and walking 38.
So far this season in two starts, Linginfelter hasn’t given up a run and has struck out 18 batters in 11 innings. He’s walked five batters and has given up just four hits.
The Vols’ next game will be on Tuesday against Liberty at 4:30 p.m. ET before facing Middle Tennessee State on Wednesday. Tennessee will then travel to Pensacola, Florida over the weekend to participate in the Cox Diamond Invitational.