Alabama Tops Florida On The Road
Tennessee is 43 days away from opening its baseball season against Georgia Southern at Lindsey Nelson Stadium.
Preseason rankings are starting to come out and Perfect Game released their top 25 Thursday, pegging the Vols as the nation’s 21st best team.
Tennessee spent most of the 2021 season in the nation’s top 10, winning 20 SEC games and a SEC East title on the way to the program’s first birth in the College World Series since 2005.
The Vols lost a large number of major contributors including top pitchers Chad Dallas and Sean Hunley as well as infielders Max Ferguson, Jake Rucker, Liam Spence and Connor Pavolony.
Tennessee is also facing turnover on its staff with volunteer assistant Ross Kivett leaving for a full time job at Houston and strength and conditioning coach Quentin Eberhardt leaving to become the Chicago Cubs major league strength and conditioning coach.
Still, Tennessee returns three talented outfielders in Kyle Booker, Jordan Beck and Drew Gilbert as well as super seniors Redmond Walsh, Evan Russell and Luc Lipcius.
Tony Vitello and his staff infused the program with plenty of talent. The Vols signed the nation’s No. 5 signing class including instant impact contributors Chase Burns, Christian Moore and Blake Burke. Tennessee also went into the transfer portal and snagged high end pitchers Chase Dollander and Seth Halvorsen.
As always, the SEC is loaded this season with eight teams coming in Perfect Game’s top 25. Vanderbilt (No.1), LSU (No. 4), Mississippi State (No. 6), Arkansas (No. 9) and Ole Miss (No. 10) all come in ahead of Tennessee while Florida (No. 23) is the lone SEC team ranked behind.