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Series Preview: Vols Look To Keep Things Rolling Against Missouri

Tennessee returns to Lindsey Nelson Stadium to face Missouri this weekend after sweeping back-to-back road trips to Oxford and Nashville. 

The Tigers were picked last in the SEC East this preseason but have been competitive in SEC play after Vanderbilt swept them in the opening weekend of SEC play.

Let’s take a look at Missouri entering the weekend series.

How The Tigers Got Here

Expectations were low entering Steve Bieser’s sixth season as Missouri’s head coach. After winning just eight SEC games last season, Missouri is off to an 18-8 (3-6 SEC) start. 

The Tigers were most uncompetitive in an opening weekend sweep at Vanderbilt, but played well in their two-week homestand.

Missouri dropped two-of-three to Arkansas, but all three-games were competitive with the Razorbacks earning a come from behind series finale win.

The Tigers had their best weekend of the season last week, scoring 18 runs in the final two games of the series to knock off South Carolina.

Missouri earned a pair of power five midweek wins the last two weeks, knocking off Illinois and Kansas. In the pre conference slate, Missouri won games against Arizona State and San Francisco.

“I’m not in the dugout or at the games, but you would think based off, what you said, the results of beating a team like South Carolina, Kansas has always been a massive rival for that school,” Tennessee head coach Tony Vitello said. “You would think they would come in here with plenty of confidence. Probably like our team, starting to sort out some roles too. As baseball players get more comfortable in their roles and knowing what’s asked of them and where they fit in I think they start to play better.”

Pitching Matchups

Missouri has three new weekend starting pitchers after struggling on the mound in 2021. 

RHP Spencer Miles (2-2, 5.70 ERA) will get the ball for Missouri on Friday night. Miles struggled badly in one inning of relief against Tennessee last season, giving up four hits and five earned runs in an inning.

The Columbia native has struggled in his first three SEC starts, allowing 16 earned runs and eight walks in 15.2 innings pitched.

Miles will face off with Tennessee freshman RHP Chase Burns (6-0, 1.15 ERA).

LHP Tony Neubeck (2-1, 4.70 ERA) makes his third start and ninth appearance of the season Saturday night. The freshman has started in wins the last two weekends for Missouri while giving up nine earned runs in 13.1 inning pitched.

Neubeck will face RHP Chase Dollander (5-0, 2.58 ERA) in game two of the weekend series.

RHP Austin Marozas (1-0, 4.05 ERA) has started in all five of his appearances this season. The junior transferred to Missouri from Charlotte this offseason and has been a reliable arm for the Tigers.

Marozas has been Missouri’s best starter in SEC play, posting a 4.20 ERA in 15 innings pitched. He’ll face off with Tennessee freshman RHP Drew Beam (6-0, 0.88)

All three of Tennessee’s starters landed on the Golden Spikes Award Midseason Watch List earlier this week. 

Missouri Batters To Know

Missouri boasts a strong balanced offense. The Tigers rank sixth in the SEC with a .294 batting average but just 11th in the SEC with 27 home runs.

Five Missouri batters are hitting over .300 on the season and four players boast an on-base percentage over .460.

Nander De Sedas and Torin Montgomery lead the Tigers’ offense. De Sedas is hitting .373 with six extra-base hits and Montgomery is hitting .356 with a team-high 22 RBIs.

Josh Day and Luke Mann provide the power in Missouri’s offense. Day is hitting .350 with six home runs and Mann is hitting .233 with six homers.

Ross Lovich (.268 BA) is Missouri’s biggest base stealing threat, bagging nine bases on 10 attempts this season.

Game Times/How To Watch

Friday — 6:30 p.m. ET first pitch can be streamed on SEC Network+.

Saturday — 7 p.m. ET first pitch on SEC Network.

Sunday — 12:30  p.m. ET first pitch can be streamed on SEC Network+.

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