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What Tennessee Coach Tony Vitello Said After Vols Clinched Weekend Series Against LSU

Photo By Ian Cox/Tennessee Athletics

Tennessee baseball clinched its weekend series against LSU on Saturday evening by outlasting the Tigers 3-1 in a pitcher’s duel at Lindsey Nelson Stadium.

Following the win, Tennessee coach Tony Vitello discussed Drew Beam’s stout performance, Dylan Dreiling delivering again in the clutch and much more. Here’s everything Vitello said.

More From RTI: How Tennessee Baseball Earned Its Series Clinching Win Against LSU

On the offense finally getting going and if he was surprised LSU pulled Holman for a lefty to face Dylan Dreiling

“Not terribly surprised. I mean [Griffin] Herring is about as good of an arm as you’re going to get. You probably saw some really bad swings, or chases, and that’s because there is really good stuff there and a lot of deception. He threw really well against us down there in Baton Rouge, so the bottom line is Dylan [Dreiling] was ready. And then also I would attribute it to that there clearly could have been frustration throughout, not just early in the game but throughout the game on the offensive end, and our guys just kept pushing. I was extremely encouraged by the attitude where some of those innings ended in frustration, and everybody was all about, ‘Let’s go play defense,’ because obviously, we were going to need our defense today. If it’s a concrete wall, it’s probably not going to get pushed over, but if you keep pushing on a wall, you don’t know which push is necessarily going to knock that thing over or move it or tilt it. That was kind of the whole day really. It was a gutty effort led by Drew Beam.”

On what characteristics allow Dylan Dreiling to be so good in clutch moments

“Slow heart rate, I think, is one of them. I think he wants to be in those spots and is a really good teammate, and I think rarely is he trying to do too much. You might see where he sees the ball really well and takes a big swing, but rarely is he trying to do too much. I remember earlier in the year, he had a big 0-2 homer that carried out to right pretty well, but it was a real short, simple swing. So, like anything, it’s probably a list of things. But he’s a hard worker, he’s played a ton of baseball, he wants to be in those situations, and I don’t think he creates – whatever is going on – I don’t think he makes a monster or a big mountain out of it. He was ready.”

On Drew Beam throwing a lot of pressure pitches in a 106 pitch outing

“You can’t necessarily coach that at all and you can’t train for it in a bullpen because it kind of takes some mental and physical stamina as well. I would like to say his experience attributes to that a lot but Drew has kind of been the same guy for three years and I’m not saying he hasn’t improved and there’s been some things that have gotten better and he’s worked with Frank (Anderson) adding an off speed pitch and things like that. He’s more of a leader now. But you could also fall back on he’s always been whatever you stereotype a quarterback to be. I think two truths and a lie they threw out he got offered by Tennessee football and we know that’s not true but he was a good high school quarterback and he has all of those attributes. And he’s always had them and he’s built upon them. But that’s a pretty unique deal to be able to do that and navigate through all that trouble.”

On having comfort in Beam in tight spots

“The comfort is, I don’t think any coach in this league is comfortable at any moment to be honest with you. But there is a sense of this is our guy and I believe Chris Burke who did the game today and fortunately we had him and Todd Helton in attendance today— you better not lose that game with those two guys both here so it was nice we found a way to win but speaking with Chris who did the Alabama game when we left Beam out there even though he got off to a slow start he’s our guy. I regret to all get out a couple situations where he didn’t stay out there longer or even a weekend where he didn’t get the ball. He’s our guy. Especially this year.”

On how good it feels entering Sunday with a SEC series locked up

“Sunday’s not here yet so need to get some food and maybe a little UFC 300 and enjoy Saturday. Then when the sun comes up tomorrow we might have the nicest weather of the weekend and maybe a little bit more of a set schedule. Today was a little chaotic with the football game and an odd time. And we got done really late last night too. So we’ll throw on the cream uniforms. We expect another big crowd that will help us win and hopefully make it difficult on the opponent but we’ll attack tomorrow when the sun rises.”

On being able to win a low-scoring game

“We kind of talked in the outfield last night and it was a repeat speech. I couldn’t get creative and talk about anything else. We’re adding different ways to a rolodex of ways to win games, which is nice. You’ll take them anyway that you can get them, but I think today was low-scoring and just real gutty. Last night was kind of winning ugly, in particular in some situations, but our guys had a really good vibe yesterday. I would say better than today. Today was just kind of an interesting schedule with yesterday and today. But it doesn’t matter what the circumstances are. You need to find a way to win or at least have that will to find a way to win, and I think our guys had enough of that today.”

On if Tennessee’s lineup was pressing against LSU starter Luke Holman

“Not really. If you back track, some guys got into balls decently and just didn’t fall for them or get it enough. And then some guys were just under the fastball. We popped up a lot of pitches and then to me, there were some breaking ball mistakes, or breaking balls that weren’t as sharp at times at the game, or that we’ve seen on video. Guys could have been in a better position to hit, but there’s a lot of movement on the baseball and my biggest thing with our offense is, if guys keep pushing forward and don’t give up at-bats, then eventually we can put something together. You hope that you play defense and pitch, and then it’s all enough in one day.”

On if Nate Snead will be available to throw again on Sunday

“He’s gonna say he’s good to. We’ll wait, and we kind of always have conversations with your guys. It’s an easy way to say hello in the morning instead of saying, ‘what’s up?,’ or, ‘how’s the weather?,’ you say, ‘how do you feel?’ So we’ll see how he feels and everybody else, but I would like to think that even if (Chris) Stamos had to be pressed into action, you eliminate AJ (Causey) and Drew (Beam), which is where we usually are going into a Sunday, and then we’ll have conversations tomorrow and see what we can kind of piece together and maybe there’s some matchups in there and things like that.”

On Andrew Behnke and Snead being able to get big outs at the end of a game

“Snead is capable of going in that situation as well and (Aaron) Combs has been down there for two nights, probably eager to get in the game and he’s been a big get out of a jam type of guy for us. But it’s big to have Behnke back in general, but also know that he’s got the presence to come in, in those situations. Kirby has been around for so long, but I have the same vibe with Behnke out there. He showed it in a weird way tonight because he walks a guy on four pitches that is the guy we brought him into get out, but we also brought him in just because we think he can get outs and he keeps his composure and gets the four-hole hitter out that did a little damage last night, did damage last year and is obviously a good player.”

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