Tennessee Lacked “Conviction” On Sunday, But History Shows You Won’t See That Again

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A few mistakes here and there, was this the reason Tennessee couldn’t get much going on Sunday? It sure seems like it was a bit more than mistakes, It felt cold at times, in a very hot park. As the Vols were held  scoreless for the first time since the Vanderbilt series, this team must now look in the mirror and find that drive that got them here.

As Tony Vitello mentioned after the game, it didn’t feel like the stage was too big, it felt like they didn’t take advantage of opportunities.

“So Vol fans deserve better because I know they came out in big numbers and certainly have helped us to get to this point, too. But it wasn’t like there wasn’t some try hard out there and some preparation. If anything, maybe there was a little bit too much of that.”

This isn’t a team that will rollover, it’s actually the opposite. But, on Sunday, this team was setup for success but just couldn’t deliver in the pressure moments. Like having runners in scoring position multiple times throughout the game, but coming up empty. Leaving eight runners on base won’t win you many games, especially when four of those came with runners on 3rd, with under two outs.

Tennessee was 6-31 Sunday at the plate, with multiple runners in scoring position, waiting to be driven home. It was that kind of day for the Vols, one we haven’t truly seen in a while, with the lack of aggressiveness hurting them in the end. We all know what kind of club this is, aggressive first, think later. This type of mental aspect seemed to be hiding on Sunday, not knowing when to peek its head out.

You have to give credit to the Virginia pitching, as Abbott was great from the mound, recording 10 strikeouts and only giving up 5 hits. But, this is also the type of game where Tennessee will usually make the starting pitcher work for it, which they did at times, but not enough. The 1st, 5th and 6th innings are when the Vols could’ve capitalized, especially having multiple runners on, with under two outs. But, it just wasn’t flowing for Tennessee on Sunday, they were missing a component that got them here, conviction,

On Tuesday, it will be the Blade show against Texas, according to Tony Vitello. This is the perfect opportunity for Tidwell to get his team right back in this thing, which he’s done before.

“Yeah, he’s been prepared to start on Tuesday. We’ll get together at practice tomorrow and decide if anything unique needs to be done. But as of now he’s been prepared to be that guy regardless of today’s outcome.”

Taking chances, being aggressive on the base, working through multiple scenarios with runners in scoring position. These are things we’ve seen Tennessee do on countless occasions, but it was missing on Sunday.

Tony Vitello discussed how this team will fight back now, in the losers bracket, knowing they’ve done it before not too long ago.

“So, yeah, there’s no need to stew. There’s extra time between now and that game. So the time will be right to start doing what you’re talking about and prepare to answer back in the fashion that they do and have done, and Hoover is one example.”

This is why I feel Tennessee has the opportunity to capitalize off Sunday’s shutout. Usually when you upset the Vols, they come back wanting to fight even more. We’ve seen it this season, numerous times.

Guess we’ll see what Tuesday brings.

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I expect a Tennessee team that isn’t ready to head home. Time will tell.