KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (WVLT)— Baseball season is upon the Tennessee Volunteers as they open their 2019 campaign with a three-game series against Appalachian State Friday through Sunday at Lindsey Nelson Stadium.
For the second time in three years, the Vols will open the season at home as they welcome the Mountaineers to Rocky Top.
All three games this weekend will be streamed live on SEC Network+ and the WatchESPN app with Andy Brock calling the action. A live audio stream featuring John Wilkerson and Vince Ferrara will also be available on UTSports.com and the UT Gameday App.
Projected Starting Pitchers
Friday, Feb. 15 (4:30 p.m.) – RHP Garrett Stallings vs. RHP Will Sprinkle
Saturday, Feb. 16 (2 p.m.) – RHP Zach Linginfelter vs. LHP Tyler Tuthill
Sunday, Feb. 17 (1 p.m.) – RHP Will Neely vs. RHP Cameron Kepley
Series History vs. Appalachian State
Overall: UT leads, 13-4
In Knoxville: UT leads, 13-3
In Boone: App State leads, 1-0
Neutral Sites: N/A
Last Meeting: W, 7-5 in Knoxville (4/12/16)
The last time UT and App State played a three-game series, the Vols swept the Mountaineers back in 2000, outscoring them 27-3 over the three games.
Need to Know
Tennessee returns 21 players including six of its top seven hitters from last season and all eight pitchers that recorded at least one start.
According to College Baseball Analytics, 79 percent of Tennessee's starts came from underclassmen last season, the highest rate of any Power 5 conference program.
UT is the only Power 5 conference program to return every pitcher that recorded a win last season.
In Year One under head coach Tony Vitello, the Vols had a five-win improvement in SEC play, going from seven to 12 wins. Tennessee's nine home victories in conference play were its most since the 2005 College World Series team had 10.
The 29 wins that Vitello guided the Vols to last season is tied for the most by a first-year head coach in program history.
UT is slated to play one of the nation's toughest schedules this year with 30 games against teams that advanced to an NCAA Regional in 2018.
Junior infielder Andre Lipcius returns as the Vols' most dangerous hitter after leading the team in batting average (.315), home runs (seven), RBI (42) and total bases (96) last season.
Tennessee's weekend rotation will feature three returners in junior right-handed putchers Garrett Stallings and Zach Linginfelter as well as senior right hander Will Neely. The three combined for 12 wins in 2018 while Neely tied for the SEC lead with three complete games.
As many as four newcomers could be in the starting lineup for the Vols this weekend. Junior infielder Ricky Martinez will start at shortstop while junior college transfer Landon Gray and freshman Connor Pavolony will likely split time behind the plate. Other newcomers to watch for include OF/INF Al Soularie, INF Jake Rucker, INF Max Ferguson, OF Christian Scott, RHP Elijah Pleasants and RHP Camden Sewell.
Appalachian State Mountaineers
2018 Record: 18-36 (9-21 Sun Belt)
2018 Postseason: N/A
The Mountaineers are led by third-year head coach Kermit Smith. They were picked to finish sixth in the Sun Belt's East Division in the preseason coaches' poll after finishing sixth in the East division in 2018.
App State returns seven of its top eight hitters from last season as well as three starting pitchers and five relievers.
Senior SS Joel McDaniel led the team with six home runs last season while fellow senior infielder Drew Beck led all returners with 24 RBI in 2018.
A trio of freshmen (Alex Leshock, Bailey Welch & Kendall McGowan) held the top three batting averages on the team last season.
Sophomore RHP Will Sprinkle takes over as the Friday night starter after having a strong finish to the 2018 season. He finished 2018 with a 2-1 record and a 2.96 ERA in 12 appearances (five starts).
Upcoming promotions for all Tennessee athletics home events can be found on the UT Fan Experience page by clicking HERE.
Kids Combo: Corn dog, chips and a drink for just $6!
Student Promotions: Rewards Swipe-In
First 150 fans receive FREE Opening Weekend Long Sleeve T-Shirt
Kids Day: All kids 12 and under receive free admission. Run the bases and get postgame autographs from select players (Weather Permitting).
On Deck for the Vols
Tennessee will host Northern Kentucky on Tuesday at 4:30 p.m. in its first midweek game of the year. All general admission tickets cost just $2 as part of our $2 Tuesday promotion. The game will be streamed live on SEC Network+ and the WatchESPN App. Get your tickets now on AllVols.com.
Gameday/Stadium Policies & Information
Clear Bag Policy
In an effort to enhance safety and expedite fan entry at Tennessee athletic events, UT has implemented a clear bag policy at Lindsey Nelson Stadium and all other athletic facilities. Only one clear bag no larger than 12 inches by 6 inches by 12 inches (gallon size) per person is permitted. Fans are also allowed a small clutch purse not exceeding 4.5 inches by 6.5 inches. Gates will open until 90 minutes prior to game time.
Baseball parking is located in Lots G16, GF2, GF3, GF4, and C22. (Thompson-Boling Arena and Neyland Stadium events have priority if on same days as baseball games.)
Additional parking is located on the street along Todd Helton Drive. Parking for MVP ticket holders is located in Lot GF1 and handicap parking is located in marked handicap spaces on Pat Head Summitt Drive and G16 Garage.