How Tennessee Baseball Newcomers Performed The Opening Weekend Of The Season

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Arizona Cardinals QB Kyler Murray

Tennessee baseball opened its 2022 season with a dominant sweep of Georgia Southern. The Vols outscored the Eagles 37-3 in three games and are already just one shutout shy of their 2021 season total.

The Vols got contributions from up-and-down their roster including returning stars and veterans placed in new roles. However, Tennessee’s highly touted signing class also flexed its muscles in the season’s opening weekend.

Let’s see how the newcomers performed.

Pitchers

  • Chase Burns — The right-handed freshman got the ball on opening day, posting five scoreless innings, allowing just two hits and one walk while striking out five batters. Burns’ fastball sat 94-96 and topped out at 98 MPH. The former Beech High School standout showed strong command of his offspeed pitches during his collegiate debut.
  • Chase Dollander — As well as Burns performed in his debut, Dollander might have been even better. The Georgia Southern transfer was nearly perfect his first five innings, striking out 11 batters while allowing just one baserunner. Dollander ran into trouble in the sixth giving up two hits and another bunt single before getting pulled. That led to three-earned runs on Dollander’s line that weren’t indicative of how he pitched. The sophomore’s fastball sat 95-97 throughout the outing and topped at 98 MPH. Dollander leaned on the heater for his 11 strikeouts. For a look at Dollander’s dominant day and who his motion looks like, check out this thread from PitchingNinja.

  • Drew Beam — The freshman from Murfreesboro earned Tennessee’s opener role on Sunday, posting three scoreless innings against the Eagles. Beam’s fastball sat low 90s and topped out at 94 MPH and was his most effective pitch. Beam’s off speed stuff wasn’t particularly sharp as he struck out just one batter while walking three, but it was still a strong debut for the high school quarterback who missed his last two baseball season’s due to COVID-19 and injuries.
  • Ethan Smith — The Vanderbilt transfer became eligible on Thursday and made his debut out of the bullpen on Saturday. Smith posted a scoreless outing thanks to some strong defense, but allowed three hits in the inning. Still, Smith’s off speed stuff lived up to its billing and the right-hander bolsters a high level changeup.

Position Player

  • Seth Stephenson — The junior college transfer impressed in a big way during his first weekend in the orange-and-white. Stephenson started at second base on Friday and left field on Sunday, hitting three-for-six with two walks, two doubles, a home run and three RBIs. The versatile transfer showed off his greatest strength too, stealing three bases on the weekend.
  • Logan Chambers — The junior college transfer’s bat got him in the opening day starting lineup in left field and at designated hitter on Sunday. Chambers went zero-of-four at the plate with an RBI sac fly, a walk and a strikeout. Chambers glove isn’t quite a liability, but it’s far from a strength. Let’s see how he responds this week.
  • Blake Burke — The talented first baseman didn’t earn a start, but earned three at-bats off the bench in two games. The lefty went one-for-two at the plate with a base on balls.
  • Christian Moore — The talented freshman earned just one at-bat on the week, walking in Sunday’s 14-0 win.
Ryan Schumpert is a senior at the University of Tennessee-Knoxville who has covered University of Tennessee athletics since the moment he stepped on campus. He just completed a three-year stint with the Daily Beacon, the last two of which as the Sports Editor. Ryan also spent last three years at Volquest providing strong Tennessee baseball coverage of Tony Vitello's resurgent program. While the bulk of Ryan's responsibilities involved beat coverage and writing, he also recorded podcasts for both the Beacon and Volquest. Did we leave out the part about Ryan interning for the Smokies? Ryan's work ethic, versatility, and strong writing skills are but three of the reasons why Vol Nation will be hearing from Ryan for years to come.