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What Tony Vitello Said After Tennessee Split Doubleheader Against Florida

Photo By Ian Cox/Tennessee Athletics

Tennessee baseball split a Friday doubleheader against Florida on Friday. The Vols took the series opener 6-2 before falling 4-3 in a heartbreaking game two loss.

Following the games, Tennessee coach Tony Vitello discussed pitching performances, some struggles at the plate and much more. Here’s everything Vitello said.

More From RTI: Tennessee Baseball’s Bats Go Quiet In Game Two Loss At Florida

On the message to the team after splitting the double header

“Just keep playing. I think our guys got good energy, good bounce to them. Obviously the execution— even in the first game there were a couple of mistakes. It wasn’t as good as it could be but it’s never going to be that way when you have young guys out there playing and playing against great competition. So you have three games in almost 24 hours. You might as well lump them all together and just keep playing at the end of the thing we’ll figure out who won two games and who won one. I think it’s right that it’s that way tomorrow where it’s 1-1 because it’s two evenly matched teams and we kind of know what this league is about. A lot of times it comes down to Sunday or game three.”

On the challenges of playing 18 innings in one day

“The catcher has to run around in that gear and obviously you start sweating and your uniform weighs a couple extra pounds. Then mentally too, a bunch of repetitions add up so you can decide to go one direction or another with those. If you get a little complacent you’ll get in trouble. If you get too down, which if you’re a hitter over the course of the game you’re going to get punched in the gut a few times. If you get too down and focus on that it can become an issue and it can spiral on you. Maybe happened for a couple of our guys. For the most part, our guys played to the end, obviously, and had good bounce to them. Tomorrow maybe a little bit better execution but even if not and we make some mistakes we can overcome them tomorrow because I think our guys will have some energy to them on Saturday as well.”

On what he saw from Drew Beam, the two home runs he gave up in the third inning

“Well, there’s a big difference between 0-1 and 1-0. And there’s a big difference between that. You got two guys at the top of the order who can hit the ball as hard as anybody. Tough play for our infielder (Billy Amick) with (Jac) Caglianone and a mistake gets hit by a guy who has a good amount of home runs. And the other one, again, there’s a big difference between 0-1 and 1-0, and he makes a mistake and a guy that’s real big and strong has two more homers now that this day is complete for them.”

On AJ Causey’s performance in game one

“He was outstanding. Probably had to stew a little bit more down there than he was wanting to. We never have a set deal in when we want to bring him into the game, but that’s kind of been the one-two combo for us with he and (Chris) Stamos.

“Stam threw the ball in excellent fashion. He picked up where he left off and seems to have a knack for coming in and getting out of a jam. He’s gotten out of jams in other situations, too. Not just the first inning. We could leave him (Causey) in there, but with Kirby (Connell) and (Aaron) Combs down there in the bullpen, we have confidence in those guys so we figured we’d turn it over to them and it never got to Combs in that situation.”

On the availability of Kavares Tears going into the series finale

“A pretty good turn of events from yesterday to today, so maybe I was a little too hesitant. You never know, but it’s good he got out there, saw some live pitching. The fact that his body was feeling a little bit better. I would say base running and hitting are something that he’ll likely be doing tomorrow. I don’t know how much we want to push it on the defensive end since we’ve got other good defenders. But we’ll assess it tomorrow when he gets out there. Negative that he struck out. Positive that he got his cleats in the dirt.”

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