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Tennessee Baseball Cracks the Top 20 in the Polls

(Photo via Tennessee Athletics)

Tennessee went on the road to Lexington, Kentucky this weekend as the No. 22 team in the country. Following a sweep of the Wildcats, Tony Vitello’s squad is now up to No. 18.

Here’s a look at how Tennessee baseball is ranked in the five major polls of college baseball:

  • D1 Baseball: No. 20
  • USA Today: No. 18
  • Perfect Game: No. 20
  • Baseball America: No. 21
  • Collegiate Baseball: N/A

The Vols went 4-0 last week, defeating Morehead State 3-1 in the midweek affair. Tennessee then beat Kentucky 4-2 on Thursday night, 16-1 on Friday night, and 8-2 on Saturday afternoon to sweep the Wildcats for the first time since 2004.

According to Tennessee’s game notes, the sweep checked off four different boxes in the history book:

  • It marked the first series sweep in Lexington since 2001.
  • It was Tennessee’s first sweep of an SEC opponent since 2010 when it swept Georgia.
  • It was the first time Tennessee won an SEC series on the road since it took two of three from Florida in Gainesville in 2017.
  • The sweep of Kentucky was the Vols’ third sweep of the season, marking the first time UT has swept three opponents in a season since 2014. Tennessee swept Appalachian State and Indiana earlier this season.

At 30-11 on the season and 9-9 in SEC play, Tennessee sits in great position to make the NCAA Tournament.

This week, D1 Baseball has moved Tennessee from the Lubbock Region to the Chapel Hill Region in its College Baseball Projected Field of 64. The Vols are slotted as a two-seed with one-seed North Carolina, three-seed Bryant and four-seed Elon.

As for Baseball America, Tennessee is listed as a two-seed in the Chapel Hill Region along with one-seed North Carolina. Three-seed Oklahoma and four-seed Campbell are also in the region. The publication even gives the Vols a chance at hosting a regional of their own.

“Tennessee (31-11) is up to No. 7 in RPI, plenty good enough to host. But the Volunteers are 9-9 in the SEC and have a tough remaining schedule (at Arkansas, Missouri, at Florida, Mississippi),” Baseball America says. “Tennessee needs to at least go 7-5 in those games to host and anything more would only be helpful as the Vols try to move up the standings and SEC hosting pecking order.

“It won’t be easy, but Tennessee is playing well enough to make it possible.”

Tennessee hasn’t made the NCAA Tournament since 2005 when it made the College World Series.

As for now, the Vols sit third in the SEC East and ninth in the SEC. UT is currently three games back of Vanderbilt in second place in the East. The Vols have won five out of their last six conference games, and at 9-9, their SEC record is their best since 2008.

At 30 wins in 41 games this season, it’s the quickest Tennessee has gotten to 30 wins since doing it in 39 games in 2014. It’s the first time UT has won 30 games in a season since 2014.

The Vols will look to win their fifth-straight game on Tuesday night when it welcomes Gardner-Webb to Lindsey Nelson Stadium. The Bulldogs are 18-18 and 8-10 in the Big South. First pitch is scheduled for 6 p.m. ET.

Tennessee will then hit the road once again and travel to Fayetteville, Arkansas to take on the No. 7 Hogs (30-10, 12-6 SEC) in a three-game series. First pitch on Friday night is scheduled for 7:30 p.m. ET.

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