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Tennessee Diamond Vols can still win SEC Championship

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With a championship still in reach, Tennessee looks to close out the season in style with one last SEC series. If the Vols can do as much, it will be a familiar feeling.

Tuesday marked the last midweek matchup of the regular season for the Tennessee Volunteers. Another instate opponent made the trip to Knoxville as the Vols faced Nashville’s Belmont Bruins on Senior Night. As they have been much of the season, the Vol bats were hot as they run-ruled the Bruins 10-0 in seven innings, finishing the season 13-1 in midweek play. Tennessee remains home for their last three-game SEC series of the year, welcoming the South Carolina Gamecocks to town. This Thursday-Saturday series has many important implications for the Vols, in both the standings and record-breaking stats. Here are a few things to look for during the last regular season series of 2024. 

So, you’re telling me there’s a chance

Right now, the Vols remain a game back from first place, No. 3 Kentucky and are tied for second with No. 2 Arkansas. Sweeping the Gamecocks will certainly give them the best advantage, but they need last weekend’s opponent, Vanderbilt, to take two out of three from the Wildcats. They also need Arkansas to drop at least one game against their weekend opponent, No. 4 Texas A&M. Bottom line – if Kentucky sweeps Vanderbilt, Tennessee has no chance for the SEC title. If the Vols and the Cats finish in a tie, the Vols take the title, as they won the regular-season series with Kentucky. 

Moore history to be made?

Not satisfied with holding the career home run record for Tennessee, Christian Moore is chasing another long-standing hitting accomplishment. His home run on Tuesday night was his 24th of the year. This ties the single season record set by Sonny Cortez in 1998. All eyes will be on Moore to make history again this weekend. 

South Carolina – a good way to wrap up

Tennessee has faced South Carolina to end the season three of the last four years and have won the last four series against the Gamecocks. South Carolina holds the overall win total, while Tennessee is 25-24 when they host USC in Knoxville. Also, the Vols have won eight consecutive weekend series and are closing in on a 20-win season against SEC foes. 

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If it ain’t broke

Tony Vitello is going with the same three starters against South Carolina as he did versus Vandy last weekend. Chris Stamos takes the hill on Thursday, followed by Drew Beam on Friday. Zander Sechrist gets the ball on Saturday. Look for strong bullpen appearances from AJ Causey and Nate Snead as well. 

Gamecock to watch

Junior catcher Cole Messina is finishing up a standout year with South Carolina. He currently leads the team in a variety of stats including runs (51), hits (56) and RBIs (52). 

Bottom line

Tennessee doesn’t control their own destiny, but continuing their mastery of South Carolina would be something to build on heading into the postseason. However, the Vols are going to need some help to be the 2024 SEC regular season champs.

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