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Tennessee Baseball: Tony Vitello’s latest suspension isn’t the first

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Tennessee baseball coach Josh Elander led Tennessee to a sweep of Dayton this weekend. Without Tony Vitello, the Vols did fine. 

This wasn’t the first time the Vols have had to survive without Vitello. He had been suspended a couple of times before. 

Most recently, Vitello was suspended for “bumping” an umpire last season when Alabama came to Knoxville. After being tossed from the game in the first inning, Vitello bumped umpire Jeffery Macias.

He was served a four-game suspension in accordance with the NCAA rulebook. 

The incident came after then-Alabama third baseman Zane Denton hit a line drive that Chase Dollander took off his arm. Pitching coach Frank Anderson went out to check Dollander, and was concerned by comments from Alabama’s dugout. 

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Once Anderson got tossed, Vitello was defending his pitching coach when he bumped the umpire. 

His other suspension came after he was thrown out for arguing a balk call. He, again, was defending his pitching coach when he was tossed for “continued arguing.”

As they did over the weekend, the Vols had success without Vitello. While he may not be in the dugout, his influence on this team is evident. 

The energetic play and bat flips come from Vitello. While he may not have been in the dugout, Tennessee’s energy this weekend was still what we have come to know. 

Up by almost double digits, Jake Kendro hit a shot down the left field line. After review, it was ruled a home run. 

So what’d Kendor do? He took a dry swing, and bat-flipped to celebrate his home run. Dayton’s pitcher was not pleased by the celebration, but it enthused Vol fans. 

While the celebrations have ignited the fan base, it has not made opposing coaches very happy. 

It may not have been about the celebrations, per se, but Arkansas skipper Dave Van Horn was not pleased with Vitello in 2021

Following the game, Van Horn said the conversation could’ve boiled over for a multitude of reasons. He references recruiting, on-field play, or “a lot of things.” 

With Vitello’s current suspension seemingly coming to an end with the Dayton series, pending another statement from UT, all may be well. Depending on the statement UT is supposed to release today, the Vols may have to survive without Vitello for even longer. 

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