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No. 11 Tennessee vs No. 3 Florida: How To Watch, Pitching Matchups, Prediction

Photo By Emma Ramsey/Tennessee Athletics

Tennessee baseball is back home at Lindsey Nelson Stadium this weekend for a Thursday through Saturday series against No. 3 Florida.

The Vols are coming off a series loss at top-ranked LSU and have had four days off due to not playing a midweek game this week. Florida has won all three of its SEC series including last weekend when the Gators responded to a series opening loss against Auburn by dominating the Tigers in the last two games.

Here’s everything you need to know about the weekend series between Tennessee and Florida.

More From RTI: See Everything Tony Vitello Said Before Florida Comes To Lindsey Nelson Stadium

Game Times — No. 11 Tennessee (21-8, 4-5 SEC) vs. No. 3 Florida (25-5, 7-2 SEC)

Location: Lindsey Nelson Stadium

Game One (Thursday): 8 p.m. ET

Game Two (Friday): 7 p.m. ET

Game Three (Saturday): 2 p.m. ET

How To Watch

Game One: ESPNU. WatchESPN stream

Game Two: SEC Network. WatchESPN stream

Game Three: ESPN 2. WatchESPN stream

What Tony Vitello Said About The Series

On outfielder and designated hitter Kavares Tears availability (hamstring)

“A little bit more mobile than he was. Would really like to be more conservative than not with that deal. Everyone knows a hamstring is one of those things than can linger for a while if it’s not handled or treated the right way, so would rather be patient but at the same time he is still a valuable bat for us even if he’s not in the outfield. I think we’re probably a week away before he could be in the outfield but as far as offense goes or even staying on the bases— if he would have reached base, his second base (at-bat) he hit a line drive that the right fielder made a nice play on. If he were to be safe on that we would have pinch ran for him right away. I’m not so sure this weekend we couldn’t leave him on the bases as long as it wasn’t a game tying situation or anything like that.”

On Florida, Gators’ two-way start Jack Caglianone

“Thanks for bringing that up. I don’t know that we’re (Vitello and Caglianone) paisans this weekend with what he can do on both sides of the ball. He is a part of a staff that, Sully (Florida HC Kevin O’Sullivan) has been around this league and done as much as anybody, and he said this might be his best (pitching) staff he’s ever had, so I think that speaks volumes. Part of the reason is because of (Jac) Caglianone, but also (Brandon) Sproat, a kid who could’ve went out and been a very high pick last year, decides to come back, which individually he’s saying he’s betting on himself and can improve his status there, but as a team it means you are getting a guy like (Blade) Tidwell back on your pitching staff. And then on the offensive side with Caglianone, he really can do no wrong offensively, but right now, (Josh) Rivera could argue he’s got the best numbers, their shortstop, out of anybody, and the third guy who is in the conversation of their top three hitters is (Wyatt) Langford. Going into the season, he was not just talked about being the best offensive player on that team, but maybe in the league. So there’s plenty of talent behind those three guys, but three really big starters that we’ll see this weekend, and then three guys that sit in that lineup and boast pretty gaudy numbers.”

Projected Pitching Matchups

Game One — RHP Chase Dollander (4-2, 3.92 ERA, 1.13 WHIP, 56 K, 11 BB, 39 IP) vs. RHP Brandon Sproat (4-1, 5.45 ERA, 1.18 WHIP, 52 K, 19 BB, 36.1 IP)

Game Two — RHP Chase Burns (2-2, 4.97 ERA, 1.16 WHIP, 66 K, 10 BB, 38 IP) vs. RHP Hurston Waldrep (5-1, 4.74 ERA, 1.45 WHIP, 66 K, 22 BB, 38 IP)

Game Three — RHP Drew Beam (3-1, 2.51 ERA, 1.30 WHIP, 31 K, 9 BB, 32.1 IP) vs. LHP Jac Caglianone (3-0, 4.18 ERA, 1.30 WHIP, 38 K, 21 BB, 32.1 IP)

Bats To Know


Christian Moore — .349 BA, .504 OBP, 1.085 OPS, 5 HR, 10 XBH, 23 RBI

Blake Burke — .330 BA, .400 OBP 1.079 OPS, 10 HR, 15 XBH, 28 RBI

Jared Dickey — .330 BA, .413 OBP, .957 OPS, 5 HR, 10 XBH, 23 RBI

Maui Ahuna — .289 BA, .415 OBP, .994 OPS, 5 HR, 11 XBH, 21 RBI

Zane Denton — .295 BA, .437 OBP, 1.067 OPS, 7 HR, 13 XBH, 31 RBI


Jac Caglianone — .403 BA, .456 OBP, 1.391 OPS, 18 HR, 28 XBH, 46 RBI

Josh Rivera — .411 BA, .511 OBP, 1.270 OPS, 11 HR, 16 XBH, 41 RBI

Wyatt Langford — .402 BA, .552 OBP, 1.442 OPS, 8 HR, 21 XBH, 21 RBI

Cade Kurland — .333 BA, .425 OBP, 1.030 OPS, 8 HR, 15 XBH, 33 RBI

BT Riopelle — .312 BA, .411 OBP, .971 OPS, 5 HR, 15 XBH, 34 RBI

Last Three Series


03/17 – 03/19 — Missouri swept Tennessee in Columbia

03/24 – 03/26 — Tennessee swept Texas A&M in Knoxville

03/30 — 04/01 — LSU won two out of three over Tennessee in Baton Rouge


03/16 – 03/18 — Florida won two out of three over Alabama in Gainesville

03/25 – 03/26 — Florida swept Ole Miss in Oxford

03/31 — 04/02 — Florida won two out of three over Auburn in Gainesville


I’ve thought for most the season that LSU and Florida were the two best teams in the SEC. Vanderbilt and its 9-0 start to SEC play is definitely in contention for the conference crown but at the very least I believe LSU and Florida are the two most talented teams. I say that to say, life doesn’t get much easier for Tennessee returning home from Baton Rouge.

Despite dropping the series, I think Tennessee gained some confidence in its weekend series at LSU. The Vols had a chance to win every game and went toe-to-toe with the nation’s top teams. Returning home should be a big factor too. Tennessee has been a much better team at home this season than the road this season.

The Vols are plenty talented to win and I’m picking them to win the weekend series but the base running and defensive mistakes have to be much fewer and far between than they’ve frequently been. Still, Tennessee is playing better and I think starting to find its stride a bit.

Prediction: Tennessee wins two out of three

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