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What Tony Vitello Said After Tennessee Dropped Series Finale Against Kentucky

Photo By Emma Ramsey/Tennessee Athletics

Tennessee got shut out for the first time on the season Sunday afternoon as Kentucky earned a 10-0 victory over the Vols.

A 1-hour, 55-minute rain delay interrupted the game in the third inning as Drew Beam struggled on the mound and Tennessee failed to find clutch hitting.

Here’s everything Tony Vitello said after the loss.

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On what’s going wrong for Drew Beam over the past two weeks

“Usually, there’s pretty good location to both sides of the plate, and I haven’t watched today’s game on video, but I think some pitches, especially when he’s ahead in the count, missing over the middle or the heart of the plate, and then there’s also been occasions where he’s behind in the count more than normal so then he has to go. Ultimately, if you break it down, whether it’s this team we just played or another one, if you’re in the center of the plate too often, bad things can happen.”

On if left on base numbers is a positive or negative

“I probably jinxed it because I looked at that stat for our team and compared it to others in the SEC. If you look at it, it’s interesting. Two years ago, we had a pretty good team and you guys would ask about it all the time, and it’s probably not a popular answer, but to leave them on base, you got to get on base, and that’s what we’re trying to do. And you’ll see that a lot of the productive and best offenses have that (runners left on base) as a high number. So, chalk it up to some quality at-bats, but I thought if we pushed the first one across, others would come. But we just couldn’t seem to do that. It was an odd day and as always, it takes two to tango. We  were within decent striking distance, and normally when a guy walks five (batters), you or someone else is going to make them pay, but again, they made a couple of good plays defensively and we just didn’t get that first one across. Who knows what would’ve happened if we would have.”

On Jared Dickey

“Some soreness in there. Just kind of confirmed. Definitely real sore. More sore today than he was yesterday. So, that’s not a rush effort by us by any means. I’d like to see him out there playing as much as you all would and the fans, and of course, as eager as he is to get back out there. But we won’t rush it. The soreness needs to go away and then make sure he’s got range of motion and make sure it’s the best situation for him to get out there. In the meantime, it’s nice to have KT (Kavares Tears) back, so you kind of make an unwanted trade there, if you know what I mean, but it’s good that Dylan [Dreiling] and KT are able to get in the lineup and get at-bats. And then Griffin [Merritt] is always itching to get out there defensively, too, so we’ll manage it as we see fit as we head into Tuesday.”

On if they’ve confirmed it’s not a long term injury

“What’s a big deal is we’re not going to have him here next year. You’ll see him play again in a Vol uniform and then he’ll move on to his pro career. But no it’s something we have to manage day-to-day and I stay way out of those ways. I wasn’t joking yesterday, some words were used yesterday and today that I don’t even understand but it does boil down to soreness.”

On how he’d asses Seth Halvorsen’s outing

“It was good. He’s not going to agree with that. That was his last hitter no matter what and we got him to a pitch count he has not been at so I don’t think he’s going to use that as a crutch and his velocity was still there if I’m not mistaken. A good hitter and a good competitor got one off him. When you add a walk to it it’s a little bit of trouble and it probably puts a little bit of a sour taste on the whole thing. I know he gave up a solo earlier but that’s the cost of doing business as it relates to throwing strikes. If you look at it two days from now when the emotions have gone away, he’s been dying to start. He don’t say it to me but all these kids like the starting role and he got a starting rep. He warmed up like a starter. He started the game for us (post rain delay) and he got to a pitch count that is almost worthy of about what (Andrew) Lindsey did in his first start. Now we know we can use him in that role and certainly with his stuff the way he was rolling— we know when he’s at his best we can use him in a Burns type role. Chase was pretty dynamic but you can lump Halvy in there when he had it grooving for a minute those were our two best guys for moments over the weekend so that’s how I see it. He’s super competitive and charged off the mound and all that and doesn’t want to get hit. If we’re not going to win a game I don’t care if it’s 25-0 as long as we get to play nine innings. I do care about that with all of that goofy stuff. I want to win or lose. We didn’t win so I think something good came out of it for Halvy.”

On how frustrating it was that AJ Russell could only pitch an inning due to the weather delay

“Yeah, a little bit. A little bit, but again, I think you can pull a positive out of anything. You know, he’s not the beefiest guy in the world and he is young, and we like using him in a bunch of different situations. So, if anything out of it, he got another SEC rep, but at the same time, he’s still available on Tuesday. He’s a guy we’d like to use in a variety of roles, so rather than gassing him out and he’s not available for Thursday’s SEC game, or not able to maybe do something that we think can set him for future success on Tuesday. We’ll take it.”

On the message going forward

“Keep pushing forward. That’s kind of what the guys were saying in the dugout, so I jumped on board with it. There were’ — it was like ‘dang it, we had these two guys on and didn’t score it.’ Then we get the bases loaded, didn’t score. It was a moment of frustration. You don’t want a bunch of guys just laissez-faire or whatever you want to call it. It was, let’s just get back to it. It sounds like a big time loser comment when you lose 10-0, but it was a pretty good effort by the guys to show up the way they did today despite being up 2-0 and then just all the way through the game. We just didn’t have any results for it to show offensively and it was a little bit of a quirky start to the whole thing on the mound. So keep moving forward as cliche it is, but I think that is the key.”

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