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Tennessee Baseball: Five takeaways from Vols’ SEC Tournament title

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After dropping game one of the SEC Tournament to Vanderbilt, many wondered how invested No. 1 Tennessee Baseball was in winning the championship. Maybe they weren’t playing to their full abilities. Did they even care about the SEC title? And with Omaha set in their sights, should they care? 

Well, the Vols answered these questions by winning the next four games, securing their fifth SEC Tournament title and the second under coach Tony Vitello. Here are five takeaways from this historic series. 

Play of the game – no wait, the play of the tournament: 

In Sunday’s finale against LSU, Tennessee Baseball catcher Cal Stark fired a strike to first base, throwing out Tiger Steven Milam. Stark’s on the money throw got the Vols out of a sixth inning bases-loaded jam, preserving the lead and possibly the game itself. 

Causey does it again: 

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Pitcher AJ Causey recorded his 11th win of the season in Thursday’s elimination game versus Texas A&M. This ties the Tennessee single season record for wins, a record he shares with five other players. Causey has won in his last five outings, recording seven or more strikeouts in six of his last seven appearances. 

Offense when it was needed: 

While the Vols didn’t rack up high run counts during the tournament, the offense showed up at the right times. Notably, first baseman Blake Burke, whose eighth-inning solo shot broke up a 5-5 tie Friday night against Mississippi State, which was enough to secure a 6-5 win. Third baseman Billy Amick ended a tough 0-17 slump on Sunday when he hit a three-run bomb in the third inning against LSU. 


Prior to the announcement of the tourney’s MVP, Blake Burke grabbed the shirt of teammate Christian Moore – presumably thinking CMo would get the accolade. After all, there aren’t many that Moore hasn’t received this year. However, Burke was awarded the honor and both teammates couldn’t have been happier. Burke was also named to the SEC All-Tournament team along with outfielder Kavares Tears. 

All we do is win: 

Today’s achievement marks the 50th game that Tennessee Baseball has won this year. This is the third time in the last four seasons that the Vols have achieved the 50-win mark. The previous time Tennessee hit those numbers was back in the 1994 and 1995 seasons.  

Next up: The NCAA baseball selection show will air Monday at noon on ESPN2. The show will announce the bracket for this year’s NCAA tournament. Lindsey Nelson Stadium has been announced as the host site for the Knoxville Regional.

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