Advertisement

No. 4 Vols travel to No. 15 South Carolina to conclude regular season

The Vols enter the weekend with a half game lead over Vanderbilt in the SEC East and have a chance to win their first eastern division title since 1997.
Max Ferguson
Max Ferguson(Tennessee Athletic Communications)
Updated: May. 20, 2021 at 4:48 PM EDT
Email This Link
Share on Pinterest
Share on LinkedIn

COLUMBIA, S.C. (WVLT) - No. 4 Tennessee wraps up the regular season with an important series against SEC eastern division rival No. 15 South Carolina starting Thursday night at 7 p.m. in Columbia.

The Vols enter the weekend with a half game lead over Vanderbilt in the SEC East and have a chance to win their first eastern division title since 1997.

BROADCAST INFO

Thursday and Friday’s games will be streamed live on SEC Network+ and the ESPN app as Butch Antley (PxP) and Kip Bouknight (color) call the action. Saturday’s contest will be televised on the SEC Network with Tom Hart (PxP) and Chris Burke (color) on the call.

Fans can also listen to the official Vol Network radio call for all three games on Sports Radio WNML (FM 99.1 / AM 990), as well as UTSports.com and the UT Gameday app. The Voice of Tennessee Baseball John Wilkerson will call the action.

PROJECTED STARTING PITCHERS

Game 1: RHP Chad Dallas (8-1) vs. RHP Brannon Jordan (5-4)

Game 2: LHP Will Heflin (2-2) vs. RHP Brett Kerry (4-1)

Game 3: RHP Blade Tidwell (6-3) vs. RHP Thomas Farr (3-5)

SERIES HISTORY

Overall: South Carolina leads, 65-38

In Knoxville: South Carolina leads, 24-22

In Columbia: South Carolina leads, 38-14

Neutral Sites: South Carolina leads, 3-2

Last Meeting: W, 6-3 (March 24, 2019)

While the Vols won their last series against the Gamecocks in 2019, South Carolina has had UT’s number in recent years, especially at home. Tennessee will be looking to end an 11-game losing streak in Columbia.

SEC East Title Up for Grabs

Tennessee has a chance to win its first SEC Eastern Division title since 1997 and secure a top-four seed in the SEC Tournament this weekend in Columbia. The Vols still have an outside chance to win the SEC regular season title as well but will need help from Florida in its series at Arkansas.

Walk-Off Wins

Tennessee has had a flair for the dramatic this season with sixth walk-off wins, including three walk-off home runs after last Saturday’s 8-7 win over No. 1 Arkansas. Max Ferguson hit a three-run homer with UT trailing 7-5 in the bottom of the ninth inning to give the Vols their third victory over a top-ranked opponent under Vitello.

53 and Counting…

Senior shortstop Liam Spence has been one of the toughest outs in all of college baseball this season. The Geelong, Australia, native has reached base in 53 consecutive games played dating back to last season and has gotten on base in all 50 games he’s played in this year. His 53 games streak is the second longest active streak in college baseball behind East Carolina’s Connor Norby (54 games). His 50-game on-base streak for just this season is the longest in the nation.

Road Vols

The Vols have been extremely good away from home this series, winning all five of their weekend road series, including their first four SEC road series for the first time since 1994. UT’s 14-4 road record this season is the best in the conference.

OPPONENT SCOUT

South Carolina Gamecocks

2021 Record: 32-18 (15-12 SEC)

Rankings: No. 15 (CBN), No. 18 (USA Today/NCBWA/PG), No. 21 (D1B/BA)

Head Coach: Mark Kingston (4th season) // Has led three different schools to NCAA Regionals during his head coaching career.

Predicted SEC Finish: 4th (Eastern Division)

Preseason All-SEC Selections:

Wes Clarke (2nd Team - DH/UTL)

ON DECK

The Vols will head to Hoover, Alabama for the 2021 SEC Tournament next week at the Hoover Met. The tournament starts on Tuesday, May 25 and runs through Sunday, May 30. The Vols’ opening game in the tournament is to be determined. Should UT earn a top-four seed, they would receive a bye into the double elimination rounds, which begin on Wednesday, May 26.

Copyright 2021 WVLT. All rights reserved.