Tennessee baseball run ruled Alabama A&M 10-0 in eight innings in the Vols’ home opener at Lindsey Nelson Stadium Tuesday night.
The Vols hit three home runs in the win including the “walk off” from Ryan Miller in his first career at-bat. It was one of three impressive at-bats from Tennessee pinch hitters. Freshman Dylan Dreiling doubled as did redshirt freshman Kavaris Tears in his first at-bat.
“When it’s your first at-bat and you’ve been waiting an extended amount of time, KT came back in the dugout and said ‘I’ve been waiting on that for two years’ and what he meant was to be standing up there but then to execute that as those two guys did— I don’t care what the situation is, it’s pretty impressive and something they should take a lot of pride in.”
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On the mound, Tennessee put together its second consecutive shutout victory. While the Vols’ have come out the gates slow this season, their pitching staff has lived up to the extremely high preseason expectations.
Tennessee threw four different pitchers and all impressed, particularly junior Jake Fitzgibbons and freshman A.J. Russell. Fitzgibbons struck out four while walking two in a pair of innings while A.J. Russell struck out three and allowed just one baserunner in two innings.
“The bottom line is when he’s in the zone he’s one of our best guys as it relates too— I don’t really look at swing and miss rates that much and things like that— but he’s got about as good of stuff as anyone, especially on the left side of the mound,” Vitello said of Fitzgibbons.”
“It was great,” Vitello said of Russell’s performance. “He made me feel comfortable. Just with his presence, the way the ball was coming out. He’s always thrown strikes we know that’s coming but just made me feel good about wearing this uniform. That’s the best way I can compliment him. He has a bright bright future but if he were to hear me say that he should probably shrug it off a little bit and say the future is now.”
Vitello discussed the top of the lineup’s big night, Maui Ahuna’s eligibility situation and much more.