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Last week, Tennessee baseball ranked No. 1 in a major college baseball ranking for the first time in program history. After sweeping No. 1 Ole Miss in Oxford the Vols checked off top-ranking in the five other main baseball polls, becoming the nation’s unanimous No. 1 team.
D1Baseball (up 4), Baseball America (up 6), USA Today’s Coaches Poll (up 4), Perfect Game (even), Collegiate Baseball News (up 1) and the National College Baseball Writer’s Association (up 2) all have Tennessee (23-1, 6-0 SEC) as the nation’s top team.
Tennessee is the first consensus No. 1 team in the country this season and the first team since Arkansas last season.
Tony Vitello’s fifth Tennessee team was picked to finish fourth in the SEC East this preseason, but reloaded talent at an abnormally fast rate from last season’s College World Series team.
At the plate, a blend of returning star power, returning bench players and newcomers have created a dynamic lineup with a strong blend of power and contact hitting.
Drew Gilbert and Jordan Beck have lived up to their preseason All-SEC honors, Trey Lipscomb and Jorel Ortega have capitalized on greater opportunities and freshmen Christian Moore, Blake Burke and Jared Dickey have flashed elite potential.
See Also from RTI: Tennessee Baseball Weekend Notebook: Ole Miss
On the mound, Tennessee has overcome injuries to returning starter Blade Tidwell and Missouri transfer Seth Halvorsen. A weekend rotation including a pair of true freshmen and a sophomore Georgia Southern transfer have dominated and proved to be the SEC’s best in the first six weekends of the season.
Friday starter Chase Burns earned SEC Freshman of the Week honors for his seven inning, three hit, one earned run and 11 strikeout performance against Ole Miss’ highly touted offense.
Chase Dollander picked up where Burns left off, fanning 10 Rebels in 6.1 scoreless innings on his way to SEC Pitcher of the Week honors.
Through two weeks of SEC play, Tennessee’s weekend rotation of Burns, Dollander and Drew Beam has allowed just for earned runs while striking out 46 batters in 40 innings pitched.
The opportunities keep coming for Tennessee this weekend when they travel to Nashville to face rival Vanderbilt. The Commodores are a consensus top 10 team and No. 8 in the D1Baseball rankings — the default ranking used by ESPN and RockyTopInsider.