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Tennessee Head Coach Tony Vitello Ejected From Saturday’s Showdown With Alabama

Tennessee head baseball coach Tony Vitello and pitching coach Frank Anderson were ejected in the first inning of the Vols Saturday matchup with Alabama.

Tensions were here in Friday night’s series opener between the Tennessee dugout and home plate umpire Jeffrey Macias.

It didn’t take long for things to get revved up with the umpire crew and Tennessee’s dugout on Saturday. Anderson was having words with home plate umpire Ryan Broussard following a pitch to Alabama two-hole batter Drew Williamson.

Things amped up when Alabama’a Zane Denton hit a line drive off of Tennessee starter Chase Dollander. Tennessee got the out to end the inning but Dollander fell to the ground in pain. Anderson quickly came out of the dugout barking at the Alabama dugout and had to be separated by the umpire crew.

“I don’t know,” Tennessee assistant coach Josh Elander said about what was said to spark Anderson’s reaction. “I just know Frank, he’s in good shape. He runs. I think he told me he ran three miles this morning and he got a couple more steps in. I don’t know exactly what he said. I just know he loves coaching the pitchers, he’s really good at it and he’s going to take care of his guys. I think that’s another long line of the many times he’s done that.”

Vitello wasn’t far behind Anderson coming out of the dugout as the trainer inspected Dollander. Both coaches were arguing with a handful of umpires when Macias ejected Anderson. That caused further argument from Vitello and eventually to Macias ejected the fifth-year head coach.

After getting ejected, Vitello bumped Macias in the stomach. That could be worth watching on whether Vitello is suspended from Sunday’s series finale.

Here are a pair of videos of the ejections.

Assistant coach Josh Elander is Tennessee’s acting head coach for the rest of game two and possibly game three tomorrow depending on if the SEC adds a one-game suspension.

“I am glad Tony does it to be honest,” Elander said of his responsibilities. “It is just a lot of things going on. Usually, I am coaching third and running the offense. Got to check the outfielder depths and maybe some matchup deals. All of a sudden, I had to kind of had to focus on other things. I had to do the pitching or whatever it may be. Tony does an incredible job. I try to just watch and observe what he does. Being around Frank, anyone gets smarter if you just stand by him. Just a great job by our players tonight. They were ready to go, responded well and stayed on the gas late.”

Vitello was last ejected one-year to the day on April 16, 2021 in a loss to Vanderbilt.

Dollander did not return to the game in the second inning. RHP Camden Sewell replaced the junior after Tennessee took a 2-0 lead in the bottom half of the inning.

Alabama’s first base coach Matt Reida was ejected in the fourth inning following some jawing with the Tennessee dugout.

Tennessee went on to win, 9-3. The series finale is set for 1 p.m. ET on Easter Sunday.

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