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Tennessee Vols at #3 Florida Gators Weekend Series Thread

It's time for some SEC games.

Randy Sartin-USA TODAY Sports

After a disappointing midweek the Vols return to the diamond this weekend to open SEC play.  They travel to Gainesville to take on the #3 ranked Florida Gators.  Florida has had a great start to the year, where the only losses they've recorded have been at UCF and at home against Miami. They have an outstanding pitching staff, and the Vols will need to play near-flawless baseball to challenge the Gators.

The Gators lead the all-time series 144-78, and the last time the Vols won a series was in 2008.  Since then, they've been 4-14 against the Gators (including 1-2 last season).

Tennessee opened the week at home against ETSU.  The Bucs had been a thorn in the side for the Vols lately, having won both games last season.  The Bucs struck first in the top of the first, thanks to a throwing error by Hunter Martin on what should have been the final out of the frame.  The Vols then tied it back up in the fifth with a beautiful sacrifice bunt by Brett Langhorne.

ETSU struck back fast in the sixth with a leadoff double to center (partially due to Brodie Leftridge playing extremely shallow in center field),  a wild pitch and sacrifice bunt ended up allowing the runner to score.  Vincent Jackson led off the bottom half of the inning with a double of his own, and was brought home on a Nick Senzel sacrifice to tie it back up.  Three straight walks with a runner on base gave the Vols the 3-2 lead.  Christin Stewart added to the lead with a solo homer (his third on the year) in the 8th, and Andrew Lee added an RBI single to push the lead to 5-2.  Lee also pitched the final two innings, getting the save while striking out four.

Wednesday, the Vols ran into trouble against Morehead State. Zach Warren got his first start (after his MTSU start was rained out in the fourth), but did not have a good outing.  He gave up four earned runs in 3 2/3 innings, while the Vols fell behind 6-1 early.  Tennessee managed to tie it up in the sixth thanks to an RBI triple for Andrew Lee, an RBI groundout for Jeff Moberg, and a Nick Senzel two-RBI single.  MSU extended their lead back to five in the eight, knocking Andy Cox around heavily with three runs, three hits, and a walk in 1/3 inning pitched.  The Vols managed to load the bases with two outs and down three in the 8th, but were unable to get a hit and fell short 11-8.

Hopefully the Vols can get back to winning, but its going to be tough against the #3 ranked team in the nation.

Tennessee Volunteers (7-6) at #3 Florida Gators (16-2)

Date: Friday-Sunday March 13-15, 2015

First Pitch: 7 p.m. ET Friday and Saturday, 1 p.m. ET Sunday at Alfred A. McKethan Stadium, Gainesville, Fl

Live Audio: Friday, Saturday, and Sunday via UTSports

Internet Video: WatchESPN all three days

Live Stats: Friday, Saturday, and Sunday via GatorZone

Probable Starting Pitchers:
UT RHP Bret Marks (1-1, 0.79 ERA) vs UF RHP Logan Shore (3-0, 0.00 ERA)
UT LHP Drake Owenby (1-1, 2.53 ERA) vs UF LHP A.J. Puk (3-1, 3.72 ERA)
UT RHP Kyle Serrano (1-1, 1.69 ERA) vs UF RHP Dane Dunning (4-0, 1.29 ERA)

Players to Keep an Eye on:

School Pos Name BA RBI R SB HR
UT CF Jackson .400 3 9 7 0
UT 2B Senzel .373 8 9 3 0
UT LF Stewart .318 12 9 1 3
UF LF Bader .429 21 17 4 6
UF 2B Guthrie .358 5 17 4 0
UF DH Scharwz .355 19 9 0 4
School Arm Name ERA WHIP BAA K W-L
UT RHP Marks 0.79 0.81 .150 27 1-1
UT LHP Owenby 2.53 1.18 .220 20 1-1
UT LHP Cox 3.48 1.49 .243 12 0-1
UF RHP Shore 0.00 0.79 .175 12 3-0
UF RHP Dunning 1.29 0.76 .139 16 4-0
UF RHP Lewis 1.50 1.00 .234 7 1-0

Go Vols!