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OTH on deck: Tennessee Baseball heads to Columbia to wrap up regular season

Via UT Athletics
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Tennessee Baseball wrapped up a series win over Kentucky this weekend, and got a win over Belmont after a rain delay on Tuesday. The Vols (36-17, 14-13 SEC) are now poised to finish .500 in SEC play. 

But a series at South Carolina awaits them. The Gamecocks have faltered recently, but they still poise a chance to give Tennessee some trouble. 

Here is a takeaway from the weekend, an injury update, a postseason outlook and a scout of South Carolina. 

Tennessee Baseball pitching staff shake-up

Andrew Lindsey and Chase Dollander both continued to look like their usual selves, putting up great numbers on Friday and Saturday. Drew Beam, on the other hand, was shaky on Sunday. 

Per Tennessee’s game notes, the third starter is not listed. After Beam went 1.2 innings, giving up five hits and four runs, could we see a new guy on the mound for the third game?

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The SEC Tournament starts Tuesday for Tennessee, so you hope to use a limited amount of pitching in the final SEC game on Saturday. Beam could still get the start, tasked with eating five or six innings. It wouldn’t be surprising to see someone else get the same task, like a Zander Sechrist. 

Chase Burns is still sitting in the bullpen and could see quality innings. 

Jared Dickey injury update

After an awkward slide into home plate, Tennessee’s top slugger in SEC play was forced to leave the game with a shoulder injury. Luckily it was on his non-throwing side, and it seems that there is no major damage to the arm. 

“Some soreness in there. Just kind of confirmed. Definitely real sore. More sore today than he was yesterday,” Vitello said on Sunday. “We won’t rush it. The soreness needs to go away and then make sure he’s got a range of motion and make sure it’s the best situation for him to get out there.

“What’s a big deal is we’re not going to have him here next year. You’ll see him play again in a Vol uniform and then he’ll move on to his pro career. But no it’s something we have to manage day-to-day and I stay way out of those ways. I wasn’t joking yesterday, some words were used yesterday and today that I don’t even understand but it does boil down to soreness.”

Could we see Dickey pinch-hit at South Carolina? Maybe. But there doesn’t seem to be a rush to get him back with the postseason rapidly approaching.

Postseason picture for Tennessee Baseball

Tennessee, according to D1 Baseball’s projections, have not done enough to host just yet. They consistently sit sat as the top No. 2 seed, or second No. 2 seed in the regional projections. 

Where does that send them right now? West Virginia or Indiana State. 

Kendall Rogers of D1 Baseball thinks that a series win over South Carolina and a Tuesday victory (at least) in the SEC Tournament could get Tennessee into the hosting conversation. 

The Vols currently sit just outside the top-20 in RPI. 

A look at South Carolina

Tennessee is 2-11 on the road. Not good. South Carolina is dealing with a ton of injuries. 

South Carolina head coach Mark Kingston joked that his entire team is listed as day-to-day at this point. Regardless, the Gamecocks are 25-4 at home and boast a  37-16 (15-11 SEC) record on the year. 

Both teams have a lot to play for (hosting a regional and SEC seeding) so expect a fiery series in Columbia.  

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