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Five things to know as the No. 1 ranked Diamond Vols head into a three-game series at Vandy

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With their Tuesday night win over the Queens Royals of Charlotte, NC., the No. 1 Tennessee Volunteers locked in their 40th victory of the season. This milestone marks five seasons in a row that the club has won 40 or more games in the Tony Vitello-era.

The win versus a lowly 12-36 Queens brigade was not a foregone conclusion, as the normally hot offense was cooled during this mid-week matchup. The hero of the night was Dylan Dreiling, whose three-run homer in the seventh inning broke the tie and eventually was the deciding factor in the 6-3 Tennessee win. 

Next up for the Diamond Vols is a three-game series against No. 25 Vanderbilt on the road in Nashville. Here are five things to look for during this weekend’s instate rivalry contest. 

Vols could make a push: 

With this being the penultimate weekend for Vol baseball, it’s a great opportunity for Tennessee to take over Kentucky’s SEC lead. Right now, the Vols trail the Wildcats by one game in the SEC title standings. Kentucky faces Florida on the road this weekend. 

You can find him on base: 

Christian Moore has racked up numerous accolades this season for his offensive production. He heads into this weekend with a 13-game on-base streak. He reached base four times in five appearances Tuesday against Queens. 

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More to watch out for: 

He may only be a sophomore, but infielder Jayden Davis plays like a veteran. He currently leads Vandy in batting average with .319 and has 35 RBIs. Davis was also named SEC Co-Player of the Week (April 8) after leading all SEC hitters with a .583 average. 

Vol pitching, better than we thought? 

With a blazing offense like Tennessee’s, how important is pitching – and how often does it get recognized? You may be surprised to know that Vols’ pitchers combined have the fourth lowest ERA among all Division 1 schools at 3.82. Pitching matchups for the Vanderbilt series have not been released at this time. 

Commodores at home = a strong advantage? 

Vanderbilt has given up 8+ runs in 10 SEC matchups that were played away from Nashville. However, they have only done this once in their SEC home games. Per The Tennessean, Coach Vitello had this to say about Vandy at home: “They’ve played very well at home,” Vitello said. “I probably sound annoying when I talk about it, but I just don’t look at stuff that I don’t want to put energy into. But if it’s loud enough, you do hear it. I do know that they’ve been very strong at home. So that’s certainly a strength of their team.” 

Bottom line – Tennessee has owned Vanderbilt over the last few seasons. They haven’t lost a game to them since April of 2021 and have swept the Commodores in both 2022 and 2023. With the Commodores’ rocky pitching against the hot bats of the Volunteers, it should be an entertaining series.

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