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Everything Tony Vitello Said After Tennessee Swept UAlbany

Photo By Emma Ramsey/Tennessee Athletics

Tennessee baseball completed the weekend sweep of UAlbany on Sunday afternoon, run-ruling the Great Danes 12-0 in seven innings. The lopsided victory completed a three-game sweep as the Vols outscored UAlbany 41-14 over the course of the weekend.

Following the game three win, Tennessee coach Tony Vitello discussed big weekends for Dalton Bargo and Robin Villeneuve, updated the injury status of a pair of players and much more. Here’s everything Vitello said postgame.

More From RTI: How Tennessee Baseball Defeated UAlbany On Sunday Afternoon

On the offense being consistent in game three

“It was good. We spread it around evenly. There was potential to have bigger innings, but I think overall, a couple of the arms we saw were good. Some of the at-bats where we didn’t get any productivity out of them, Billy [Amick] in particular had two, where a guy hits a ball hard and you don’t necessarily get something on the scoreboard for it, occurred as well. And of course, we didn’t hit two or arguably three times that we could’ve. But overall, I’m just glad we put together a complete weekend. That was a topic of conversation when we got back from Arlington. And not that we didn’t compete well there, but a whole weekend is a long time. It really starts with Thursday’s practice, so you have to do whatever you can to prepare and compete as best you can each and every day, and odds are you will be physically and emotionally tired by the end of the weekend, but you don’t want to leave any regrets on the table.”

On the bullpen’s effort

“You immediately bring in the relievers, I think one of them is standing behind me (Kirby Connell), but [Andrew] Behnke, it was nice to see him out there, but Behnke threw the ball really, really well. And that’s after a Friday [where he] got hot, and we didn’t use him. So, the guys have different terms for that that we will leave to the imagination. But he got hot, didn’t get to pitch, didn’t show any signs of frustration, came in, and he seems to be just inching along ever since his first day here. He’s come a long way, but it’s taken every single day, he’s inched along. I’ve kind of enjoyed – I know we got the portal and all that stuff – but I enjoy that deal with this job more than anything, where you see a guy who commits to you, stays hungry, so he’s better when he shows up on campus than when he committed, and then progresses daily while he’s here.”

On how Nate Snead has progressed after returning from Christmas break

“I guess he threw pretty well in relief too but we kind of expect that. With him, it’s been the offspeed’s been better. The maturity and kind of the presence has been better so you guys are, again, working hard to follow our team and you’ve seen as many outings so you’ve probably seen that progression more drastically than I do and could make put words better to it than I can. But two things that we’ve harped on with him in meetings and things like that and share things with the kids that we need to approve upon— if he can add offspeed to a fastball that’s what it’s at, it can create a mess for the hitter and then overall presence, demeanor, composure. Whatever goes under that entire umbrella is so big in these games in a SEC park. And Arlington is bigger than an SEC park and if we’re fortunate to play in Hoover and every SEC park including ours— it’s a big stage. There’s a lot going on for these kids.”

On if they wanted to get Zander Sechrist more innings if there wasn’t a run-rule

“I guess you have his back since he’s standing behind mine. He threw the ball as well as he did to the last hitter. So since he is paying attention here, our guys need to come out of the gate ready to face that first hitter. Especially if you’re coming out of the bullpen. Everyone knows that. You need to be ready from that first pitch on but for the way this staff is going to work out, if (AJ) Russ(ell) is a little sore— I don’t have any major update. I know that was a question yesterday. But we’re going to be conservative with him and give him a few days so I don’t know if that means he’ll miss this weekend but he’s certainly going to not be at his pitch count for a couple weeks. There’s innings available. So other than Beam kind of being the one solidified starter on the weekend, everyone else is going to have to mesh outs together for us. We’ve got a defense that’s fully capable and an offense that can be explosive at some points so Zander and everyone else just needs to get us one out when they’re out there and if they’re out there for the full inning, get us three outs for however (long) you can and we’ll see where we’re at after that. To more directly answer your question 20 minutes later, we had one guy a little sore today who scratched himself from the rotation we kind of had mapped out. So if we would have known that ahead of time Zander probably would have thrown three or four (innings). But that’s okay. We’ll roll with it. Guys aren’t going to be 100% between now and the end of the year. And a guy like Kirby, it stinks that he was hurt earlier but he’s going to be more fresh by the end of the year than he would have been. And a guy like Russ is going to gobble up so many innings by the end of the year. But any innings he leaves on the table there needs to be a guy like (Derek) Schaefer or (Austin) Hunley there to gobble it up. Hungry Hippos style.”

On Dean Curley’s status following HBP

“Yeah, those guys did a good job. I don’t know what to do in that situation – I’m not a doctor so I’m just kind of staying out of the way. Doctor [Chris] Klenck is always in our dugout, which is awesome. He’s a superstar. He and Woody [Jeff Wood] combined and put him through the natural protocol. But I think we even have some of our stuff from football equipment  – if I’m not mistaken. Again, I’m out of my element there. But he’s good. He’s good. We’ll see if we play it cautionary on Tuesday or not. This time of year, I kind of like doing it that way anyway. If he’s not playing on Tuesday, it’s kind of my choice and not his or Woody’s. So, that’s a good sign – especially for a guy who has missed a few games and a guy that is exciting to play.”

On Kavares Tears playing centerfield

“He’s a centerfielder. Alex Perry I think played third base two days in a row and he’s a shortstop. At our level, it makes you feel comfortable to have a few guys who can do it in center, and this is by far the most amount of guys that we have who can play shortstop at out level. I’m not a pro scout. I think I chimed in one time trying to get coach Bonfield [Luke] drafted and somebody lost their minds. So, I don’t know how those guys do their jobs and cover all those players sin the country. Now it’s only 20 rounds but I do know this -and this could help a kid out there like me. I wasn’t good enough and I was always wondering how good am I and what can I do? If you are out there every day, they are going to draft you on whether they think you can catch or whether you they think yu can play short or whether they think you are a centerfielder. Just because you play shortstop or centerfield for your team, that doesn’t mean that’s what they are drafted you as. They may even put a scribble next to your name and rafted you for a different reason. Maybe they think you are a DH but they have a position by your name. That’s kind of a hot topic. I like guys staying loyal and guys working hard for what they do – if you kind of can read between the lines. But to speak for pro scouts one more time, let’s see if it gets me in hot water. Just because you play shortstop doesn’t mean you’re going to play shortstop for any given team. The Mets. I think we can all be fans for the Mets for a little bit because of [Blade] Tidwell and now [Drew] Gilbert. So, you might have to change your mind.”

On what he thought about the weekend’s Robin Villeneuve and Dalton Bargo had

“Really good. Really good to start to get settled and show that they can play a variety of positions. Outfield is fairly new to both of those guys. I’ve never told Dalton Bargo to go to right field. Something that I think be useful. Because I wish I could go back in time and play. I’m not any smarter than the next guy, but it’s something that if a younger kid hears this, it could help, too. I’ve never told Dalton Bargo to go to right field. Ever. And he goes out there and runs around like a maniac in (batting practice). We’ve had him in left. So we talked about it as coaches, the first opportunity that we get, let’s put him out there. I don’t know that he had any plays out there today to make, but he’s got a good enough bat if he can force his way into that lineup, he’ll be able to show everybody what he can do a little bit. That occurred today.”

On it being normal to figure out the starting rotation this time of year

“I think sometimes it’s because you want to play it off the matchup, the team that you’re playing, how Friday went. I know Coach (Frank) Anderson often as a head coach, we’ve talk about it before. He would wait to see who’s used out of the bullpen on Friday night to decide who’s available for potentially Sunday. I know one Sunday at Missouri, Frank actually was at Oklahoma State and we used 10 pitchers on a Sunday. The plan was to use one guy to throw each inning, but we actually used a guy to bail somebody out, so you end up with 10 and he laughed about it postgame, said, ‘I can’t believe you guys got away with it.’ It was what we needed to do with that particular staff in our opinion.

“I don’t ever claim to be smarter than the next guy. If you win, you look smart and you might even — I know one time, we made a poor decision and got away with it. But sometimes you make the right decision and it just doesn’t work out, so for this team in particular, I think it’s evolved into a deal where we have a deep offense, those guys need to stay hungry, but also be good teammates and we’ll do the best to keep everybody involved. And then with the pitching staff, we’ve got a solid starter that has been the most stable guy probably we’ve had ever here. You kind of know exactly what you’re getting, like Sean Hunley when he used to pitch for us. And I’m talking about Drew Beam. The rest of the guys just need to be ready to go when their name is called.”

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