Tennessee defeated instate rival Vanderbilt, 10-1, to open up the SEC Baseball Tournament Thursday night at the Hoover Met. It was the Vols’ fourth win over the Commodores this season, marking the first time since 1994 that Tennessee beat Vanderbilt four times in one season.
Tennessee earned its first series win over its instate rival under Tony Vitello in early April and has outscored the Commodores, 26-5, this season.
After Thursday night’s game at the SEC Tournament, a reporter asked long time Vanderbilt coach Tim Corbin how we would compare this Tennessee team (50-7, 25-5 SEC) to the other best teams he’s seen in his years in the SEC. The 20th year Vanderbilt head coach offered glowing praise for his instate rival.
“They’re very good in all areas,” Corbin said. “It’s tough for me to sit here and think about all the teams that I’ve seen in this conference. But as far as they’re concerned, they play with a tremendous amount of confidence, they’re older, they don’t hurt themselves, and they can match up from a pitching standpoint in every area. They can go hard and soft, they’re hard guys. They’re very difficult because as Dominic said, they command the ball. They command the ball with several different pitches, and they’re attacking. They’re attacking from all areas; I’m not saying just offensively. They’re attacking on the mound, they’re attacking defensively, and they’re attacking offensively.
Just one of the better teams that I’ve seen in the 20 years that I’ve been around, without question. Tony has done a good job with them. Their whole staff has.”
Corbin has seen a plethora of dominant teams in his 20 years as Vanderbilt’s head coach, including plenty of his own. Since Corbin took over at Vanderbilt, SEC teams have won the National Championship seven times with his Commodores team claiming two of them.
The 2013 Vanderbilt team, which fell to Louisville in the Super Regional, is the only team in the history of the SEC to post a better conference record (26-3) than this year’s Tennessee team has.
Vanderbilt is in action at the SEC Tournament as of publication, facing Kentucky in an elimination game.
Tennessee returns to the diamond on Friday night at approximately 9 p.m. ET when they face No. 4 seed LSU.