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Everything Tony Vitello Said After Victory Over Alabama A&M

Tony Vitello against Oklahoma in Arlington // Photo via UT Athletics

Tennessee baseball earned its third straight run-rule victory on Tuesday night by destroying Alabama A&M 20-2 at Lindsey Nelson Stadium.

Following the game, Tennessee coach Tony Vitello discussed the offense’s success this season, the performances of a number of pitchers and much more.

More From RTI: What To Know About Tennessee Baseball’s Victory Over Alabama A&M

On catcher Charlie Taylor playing in right field

“No you shouldn’t (expect that), because he had his one opportunity and I’ll be dang if it wasn’t a really difficult one. I didn’t say it to the team. I would have said it out there, but I was trying to keep things real short. Coach (Frank) Anderson always talks about all the baseball he’s seen and all the guys he’s coached. Guys that do things right all the time seem to get breaks more than other guys. It’s zen, karma, whatever, good luck, whatever you wanna call it. And in that situation, the ball drops and Chuck has a teammate to pick him up and maybe that’s because he’s always picking up his teammates. But it actually almost kind of worked out to where he made an assist to set up a SportsCenter type play, so kudos to Colby Backus and (Austin) Hunley is another great kid that deserves every break he gets. Maybe all that mojo right there had something to do with it, but at the end of the day, I don’t think we need to see that again.”

On if freshman RHP Brady Robertson has impressed him with his last couple of outings

“Yeah, me and Frank (Anderson) were discussing it in the dugout, so we were on the same page with you. It was good. These kids, they’re worried about stat lines and this and that, and it’s cool that we have record and stuff being kept, but what are job is to assess, is how it goes down. I mean, a guy might get hit around the park, but we really liked the way he threw. And then another guy might get three quick outs, but it didn’t look right or he didn’t execute, so regardless, he threw the ball really well tonight and seems to be picking up some steam after a little bit of inactivity with some soreness and then also, it’s his first year of getting college action.”

On Ariel Antigua’s three-run double in the bottom of the sixth

“I’m only doing it from an observation type standpoint, but you know, his first at-bat was tremendous, of his career. You could see that build up of wanting to be a part of college baseball and then the injury. Just wants to be out there and he looked so determined in that at-bat. He hasn’t had a bunch of repetitions pile up, but he kind of didn’t look like himself for whatever reason and in that last at-bat, he looked like he just kind of said to heck with it, I’m going to get my swing off and he’s got a good swing. I know people were oohing and ahhing with the play he made in the hole there. So it’s obvious he can defend, but he’s fully capable offensively as well.”

On if he expected the offense to be as good as it’s been to this point in the season

“We thought it was a pretty good group. I don’t think you jump ahead where you try to predict numbers. I remember when I was playing you’d look at the schedule and try to predict all kinds of different things or pretend you know exactly what’s going to happen. I think the depth is something you talk about in the fall or at the start of the season. But when the seasons starts you’re like I hope we still have nine guys we’re confident (in). I think we knew we’d be able to hit. I think we knew we were capable of doing some things but the thing that’s been nice is depth has kind of stayed there and it might be kind of building a little bit with how some of the guys did either tonight or recently.”

On Cannon Peebles having a RBI hit

“I think to relax and play. I haven’t said it to him but I think there’s a lot of extra stuff that goes on. Not just for him but for others if the results don’t go the way that you want. You start adding a bunch of things that aren’t necessarily there. I don’t have a good analogy for it but maybe if you’re cooking something up and something doesn’t taste right you don’t add five or six different things but I think these kids kind of tend to do that and then all of a sudden you have a mess on your hands with whatever you’re trying to cook. For him and for some others too, it’s nice to get some positive feedback from the game so they can relax and get back to their version of playing ball and if he just plays ball and eliminates some of the extra stuff then you’ll see the guy that you saw in various points in the fall and last year and quite frankly a few times this spring he’ll, I don’t know if emerge is the right word, but just be present and available to his teammates.”

On if JJ Garcia’s process matched the results

“Yeah. I mean he really threw one good slider that kind of caught everybody’s eye in the corner. He’s worked to add that to keep balls away from righties, but I thought all the guys did well. They have two or three guys in that lineup that can really, noticeably swing it. Not to discredit anybody else and he had to get through one of those guys. So to do his job the way he did was good but I think all those guys are hungry to pitch. With Zander being out of the mix, I think there’s some guys salivating or understanding that there’s innings up for grabs and they want to take advantage of them whether it be on a Tuesday or an opportunity that comes from throwing well on a Tuesday.”

On what makes a good utility man

“I think the coaches can trust him, not just that he has the athleticism to play a different spot, but you have to have the knowledge, too. First base, for instance, yeah you just have to catch it, but there’s a lot of intricacies of that position that you need to also have an understanding of. So just to get repetitions or just to be athletic enough to run around doesn’t mean you know how to make an important play or a play that calls for a little bit of baseball knowledge. I think we can use Chuck (Charlie Taylor) there, our buddy Chuck as an example in right field, I don’t know which category he came up short in… maybe it was height? In that particular situation. But I think for the utility thing, it is such a valuable part of college baseball and now Major League Baseball. And I love that Nats (Nationals) quote that they had about Trey Lipscomb. He had yet to make the roster for the big league team, and they were talking about how valuable it is that he knows how to play every position on the field. And a part of that is he’s a great athlete and great kid, but also that he’s done it. He’s run around at all those spots.”

On if he sees those traits of a good utility man in Dalton Bargo

“Yeah, I think I kind of called him our Ben Zobrist. I think my family and I were able to see that game where he became the MVP and wins game seven, that big hit down the third-base line, but also, that was where Major League Baseball I think really rubber-stamped the fact that if you can be a utility guy like Zobrist or, I’m sure there’s other examples, too, José Oquendo if you’re from St. Louis – there’s a great song on José Oquendo on YouTube, by the way, side note – and I think now, it’s seen as a real positive, whereas in the past it may have been, ‘Hey, you have to master one spot.’ Well, if you’re a great third baseman and you have another good third baseman on your team, you don’t want to sit there and watch the game. You want to find a way to be involved somewhere else.”

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