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Five Takeaways: Vols Stumble, Ready for postseason?

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Tennessee missed a golden opportunity to sling open the door after a trip to Nashville this weekend. However, the best the Vols could do was stalemate Kentucky in the race for the SEC.

The Diamond Vols traveled to Nashville for a three-game weekend series against No. 25 Vanderbilt. No. 1 Tennessee took two out of three against the Commodores to secure another SEC series win. 

Here are five takeaways from the Vols trip to Music City.

Friday night pitching duo strikes again:

Another Friday, another win, thanks to the strong arms of starter Chris Stamos and reliever AJ Causey. Stamos recorded a career-high five strikeouts and gave up two hits in his 2.2 innings of work. Despite a rough sixth inning where he gave up the lead, AJ Causey had another outstanding performance out of the bullpen. Causey retired 10 of the last 11 batters he faced, earning his team-leading ninth decision of the year. 

Moore Homers:

On Saturday, Christian Moore hit his 50th career home run, a three-run blast in the sixth inning. This makes Moore the first in Tennessee baseball history to hit 50. With 23 dingers this season, Moore is now in 2nd place on the Vols’ single-season home run list. He’s one shy of tying the record (24) set by Sonny Cortez in 1998. 

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Vol bats put on ice:

On Sunday, the usually sizzling hot offense of the Diamond Vols suffered their first shutout of the 2024 season, dropping game three to Vanderbilt 3-0. All three of Tennessee’s hits (all singles) came off the bat of Dylan Dreiling. 

Winning streak hampered by strong pitching:

The loss to Vandy on Sunday ended a nine-game win streak against the Commodores. This was the longest win streak against the Commodores since the Vols racked up 22 straight from 1964-1970. Vanderbilt starting pitcher JD Thompson threw six strong, scoreless innings – striking out nine Vols in the process. Commodores’ reliever Devin Futrell entered the game in the seventh, striking out three, earning his first save of the year. 

No advancement in the standings:

First place Kentucky also took two of three from Florida this past weekend, preventing Tennessee from taking over the top spot in the SEC East. For the last weekend of the regular season, the Wildcats will host Vanderbilt in Lexington while the Vols will welcome South Carolina to Lindsey Nelson Stadium. 

Next up, the Vols head home to face another instate foe, Belmont. This midweek matchup will take place Tuesday at 5pm.

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