Following Tennessee’s weekend series loss at Kentucky, the Vols were no longer the unanimous No. 1 team in the country. Tony Vitello’s fifth team was still the top-ranked team in a number of rankings including D1Baseball and the USA Today Coaches Poll. However, the Vols fell from the top spot in three rankings including Baseball America.
A week later, Tennessee is back as the unanimous No. 1 team in the country following its series victory over Georgia. The six main college baseball rankings — D1Baseball, Baseball America, Perfect Game, Collegiate Baseball, the USA Today Coaches Poll and NCBWA — all ranked Tennessee atop the college rankings this week.
The Vols moved up in three rankings thanks to Arizona’s series victory Oregon State and their own series victory over the Bulldogs.
Tennessee took the first two games the series over its SEC East rival clinching the program’s first regular-season SEC Championship in 27 years.
“It just shows that there are a lot of guys that are determined to do some really good things,” Tennessee catcher Evan Russell said. “The SEC, that is pretty awesome. It is nothing to ignore. It is a big accomplishment and something we wanted to do. We need to come out tomorrow and keep playing baseball. If you get satisfied with something that we have accomplished, then more than likely we would turn off a switch of how we play our game and it would be hard to turn back on. We definitely don’t need to change anything. We just need to keep playing our game and see what happens.”
Vitello and pitching coach Frank Anderson mixed things up in Saturday’s series finale, giving flame thrower Ben Joyce his first career start. Joyce was solid in a four innings of action, but the Bulldogs went on to take the series finale, 8-3.
The Vols return to Lindsey Nelson Stadium Tuesday night to face Belmont in their final midweek game of the season before traveling to Mississippi State to conclude the regular season.