Advertise with usContact UsRTI Team

What Tony Vitello Said After Tennessee Clinched Mississippi State Series

Photo By Emma Ramsey/Tennessee Athletics

Tennessee overcame a five-run deficit to beat Mississippi State 12-8 and clinch the weekend series against the Bulldogs Friday night.

Chase Dollander was sick and only gave the Vols three innings in the series clinching win while Camden Sewell was electric out of the bullpen and Tennessee’s bats stayed hot with two-outs.

Here’s everything Tennessee coach Tony Vitello said about the win.

More From RTI: Everything To Know About Tennessee’s Game Two Win Over Mississippi State

On his convo with Blake Burke, the emphasis on hitting off speed for Burke

“I think it’s something you get used to, especially for the high school kids. You get really good and you get recruited by a big school. They start throwing you nothing but offspeed and then you get even better at that or accomplish that task and you commit to a big school and they just walk you. So I don’t think Blake is to that point though we did it to one of their guys tonight. But, yeah, he’s not familiar with how guys are going to approach him. Really if you ask all the ESPN guys— that crew they have is awesome. Just a bunch of good dudes and of course Chris Burke’s got to be our favorite. They all think the same thing. It’s one of the prettiest swings in the SEC and therefore the country so just use it. You don’t have to do more or less. It’s nice he said that but we had real short, simple time conversating and really it was all about using his swing. A guy that’s that good, he’s going to have success every now and then. Fortunately tonight he did it with guys on base.”

On how impressive Camden Sewell’s outing was

“That’s a good lineup. I’d like to be sincere in saying I just didn’t do a good job of managing our pitching staff. I’m sure we’ll talk about Chase (Dollander) and it starts with that. We wanted to get to a situation where Cam could throw six outs for us with the game on the line. We were hoping it’d be the eighth and ninth. Obviously came in earlier in a big jam and what he did after was incredible. Could have managed the pitching on our side better but you certainly have to give them credit for what they’re capable of doing offensively and what they did.”

On what the conversation with Sewell was like during the ninth inning mound visit

“He’s got his own little vibe going on out there and I just saw one thing. And at Arkansas or one of our past games I saw something similar. I was on the top step and wish I went out. I didn’t and regretted it. You look back on it and it kind of looks goofy because you’ve got the end of the game kind of upon us but I just wanted to make sure he was good. We’ve been around each other a lot of days so he basically said go back to whence you came.”

On the pitching decisions in the fourth/fifth inning

“Here I thought we were buddies. I think you have to be careful at pre planning what you’re going to do. I think our ideal inning was for him (Zander Sechrist) to go out there and get those three guys out and then we were going to move on to someone else. You know Zander hasn’t been worn out by us because we pull him out of those Tuesday games so early when he could probably go seven or eight for us in my opinion and he threw the ball as well as he’s ever thrown it and some of the infielders even came in and said that. Our mind had been made up ahead of time that here’s the plan to get us to Camden Sewell. You have to be careful scripting things and who knows what happens. It was a quirky start to that inning. Bryce Jenkins has been tremendous for us against left-handed hitters but if anything I think it’ll just make Zander hungrier the next time out there and for us it makes us feel really good that that ceiling is not reached. He’s gotten better each day he’s been on our campus and I think he can continue to do so. As he gets more-and-more SEC action I assume he’s going to become more-and-more comfortable.”

On Christian Scott getting better at the plate

“He’s a leader on this team, and I think it took him a while to be a true leader. I don’t mind saying it––it was just a little bit out of his comfort zone or trying too hard to do some things––and then at some point he gradually just became himself. And who he is is someone all the guys respect, and they also really like him. And then he’s got his Master’s degree in Tennessee baseball, at least since we’ve all been here. So, having said that, he is kind of being what our team is. We talked yesterday about how you got to be relaxed a little bit, and he’s up there in the ninth inning in one game, it wasn’t this weekend, and he was singing to himself and battled I think a 12-pitch at-bat. So, he was relaxed, but it wasn’t like he was goofing off or not intent into what he’s doing. He’s kind of mirroring, or I would say leading, the cause of what we got going on, and that’s  ‘Show up and play ball, man. It’s a kids game, and have some fun doing what we’re doing.’ But for a lot of different reasons, we want to try and win. He’s certainly doing that. You saw it in the one at-bat again where he battled, where he’s just determined to get things done defensively and offensively, and he’s always a runner on the bases which is nice.”

On how good it was for Christian Moore to have good at-bats

“It was good, and it all followed a positive approach coming to the park today. I think he and Coach [Josh] Elander had some wise words last night, just a chance to vent and just talk. Sometimes when you just say something out loud or you remove yourself from the emotion of the game and just sit there and think about it or say it out loud, then everything kind of makes more sense, and it’s easier to think rationally about things. So whatever that conversation started or ended with, I don’t know, but he came to the park expecting to have success, and that’s usually what you get. Sometimes we see it with other guys where they come to the park and it’s like, ‘Man, I think you’re already dooming yourself with your thoughts or the things you’re saying,’ and he did the opposite today. He was really good in BP, and it followed in the game. So, I think it’s good. A kid needs reinforcement, and that guy is different, he’s super physical and super confident, but everybody needs a little reassurance. When you are doing the right things, you’d like a little carrot at the end of the deal or a reward, and fortunately, he got it tonight.”

On Chase Dollander’s sickness and the decision to start him

“It was this morning (the decision to start him). We had talked about what are we going to do if he’s not able to go, and if it’s quick… it kind of ended up where maybe he can get us five, or if it doesn’t look good, he might only throw an inning or two for us, or he might come to the park and say he can’t throw. I just needed to do a better job of managing his situation, and when I say that, part of it might’ve been us saying ‘Yeah, I know you want the ball, but we’re going to supersede you.’ But to be honest with you, it was kind of tough because he was coming in to get his throwing in then leaving because he was sick and had a high temperature. To me, I’ve said it to you guys, and it maybe sounded a little quirky, ‘Tough gets going, Doe gets going,’ and he tried to gut the thing out. It stinks he didn’t get that reward I’m talking about, but I think if anything now he has got his teammates respect, and I think he’s got baseball or karma, whatever you want to call it… he’s got a break coming to him because of what he tried to do tonight, and it’s awesome to see his teammates pick him up the way they did.”

On Seth Halvorsen trying to get back on track

“I think tonight he came out throwing with conviction. It’s just the margin for error was so small. Everything seemed to kind of be out of whack until [Camden] Sewell came in. Throws a really good breaking ball and then the second one just wasn’t as good. Their lineup is dangerous, and they have good hitters. I liked the way he came out throwing the ball tonight. He was up to 98 miles per hour, which I don’t put as much in the velo, but he had conviction on every pitch. I am a little bit of a believer in karma and I think he’s got a break coming to him next time he comes out because he’s been working his but off in between days. He’s throwing strikes. If he throws that way the next time he’s out, I like his chances.”

On scoring with two outs

“I think there’s been more of a team at-bat approach, and that doesn’t come from any one conversation or plan or anything we’ve done. It just seems that guys have had enough early on with not having success. So, what do we need to do to have success? Just find a way. It doesn’t have to be it felt good, I hit I had or I got mine or anything like that – it’s what we have to do to get to the next pitch. That’s kind of what C-Scott [Christian Scott] has done with some of those at-bats with two outs and two strikes. What do I have to do to get to the next pitch and help our team win? It always helps to be relaxed. If you’re tense, you’ll get exposed by a guy who will dice you up in the SEC. Certainly helps to be loose, but that part in particular comes from the guys wanting to come together as a group and find a way to do whatever it takes for everyone to come together.”

On having guys like Camden Sewell and Chase Burns to eat innings in the bullpen

“It helps. Going into the season, you’re looking at [Andrew] Lindsey, [Camden] Sewell and even [Seth] Halvorsen you can throw into that conversation at the time. With [Chase] Burns, it’s kind of flip flopped. So, our confidence is where it was at the beginning of the season with high expectations. I think we just happen to – each year is different, and circumstances are different. We have started to find guys where their comfort zone is. Heck, there’s still room for guys to improve situations they want to be in – if that’s the right way to say it. We were talking about Zander [Sechrist]. And there’s other things that can occur to where we might decide we like a guy in a certain situation that he hasn’t necessarily done before. Options are good. Coach A [Frank Anderson] does an awesome job of coaching them up, but we are also blessed with some talent.”

On Kavares Tears and his oblique injury

“He has been doing whatever he’s got to do rehab wise. It is kind of like a hamstring injury where you don’t want to go two steps forward and one step back. Better to be cautious and he is making progress. I think it will be fun to add him into the mix late in the year, but I don’t think it will be any time over the next two games that he would play for us.” 

Similar Articles


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Tweet Us