This weekend the Tennessee baseball team is set to square off against the Louisiana-Monroe Warhawks in a 3 game series. This will be the Vols’ last full series before they begin SEC play next weekend against Georgia in Athens.
The Volunteers come into this weekend on the heels of an exciting 9-7 victory over Ball State on Wednesday.
The Vols’ continue to have an excellent year on offense. As a team, they have posted a .284 average, a .390 slugging percentage, and an excellent .403 on base percentage.
However, they continue to struggle on the basepaths. I wrote last weekend that the team runs into too many outs, and this continues to be the case. The team went into the Houston College Classic just 19 for 30 on stolen base attempts, and they come into this weekend 22 for 38. That means they have been 3 for 8 in the last 4 games.
The team has cut down slightly on their fielding errors, committing only 4 in the last 4 games. They averaged 1.75 a game going into last weekend, but they have started to play much cleaner baseball.
The Volunteer pitching has struggled a little in the last 4 games, giving up 7 runs to Houston, 4 to Texas, 11 to Rice, and 7 to Ball State. Nevertheless, they come in with a 3.63 ERA with 79 strikeouts and 39 walks in 114 innings as a team. They have allowed 10 stolen bases in 13 attempts.
Don’t let their lack of success in football fool you, this is a pretty good baseball team. The Warhawks come into the weekend with a record of 9-5. Their combined opponent record is 50-39, so they have faced pretty stiff competition. They have taken 2-3 from Texas San Antonio and Sam Houston State, they took 1 of 3 from Nicholls State, they won both games of a 2 game series with Memphis as well as single games against Tulane and Southern Miss, and they dropped a single game to Stephen F. Austin.
ULM comes into the weekend having posted a .251 average, .355 slugging percentage, and a .347 on base percentage. They have committed 18 errors in 14 games, and are 31-40 (.775) on stolen bases.
They are led on offense by Senior Joey Rapp. He is sporting a .367 average with 3 homers and 12 runs-batted-in in 14 games. His slash line is very impressive at .367/.633/.500/1.133 (AVG/SLG/OBP/OPS). Jeremy Sy (.311/.400/.367/.767) and Judd Edwards (.300/.440/.417/.857) have also had impressive seasons for the Warhawks.
ULM has posted a 4.05 ERA with 111 strikeouts and only 44 walks in 122 innings on the season. They have allowed 18 stolen bases in 24 attempts.
Friday 3/9 6PM
UT: Zach Godley – 2-0
ULM: Randy Zeigler – 2-0
Tennessee will send Zack Godley to the mound Friday. He has posted an impressive 2.12 ERA with 13 K’s and only 2BB’s in 17 innings.
ULM will pitch Randy Zeigler. Zeigler has been equally impressive, earning a 2.14 ERA with 25 strikouts and 6 walks in 21 innings of pitching.
Saturday 3/10 4PM
UT: Nick Blount – 2-1
ULM: Andrew Richardson 0-1
Nick Blount has shown signs of greatness as well as some signs of weakness early in this season. He has a 4.08 ERA with 5 K’s and 2 BB’s in 17.2 innings for the Vols.
It is a similar story for Andrew Richardson. He has provided the Warhawks with a 3.06 ERA with 15 strikeouts and 3 walks in 17.2 innings.
Sunday 3/11 2PM
ULM: Cale Wine 2-1
Dave Serrano sent both Drew Steckenrider and Carter Watson to the mound on Wednesday against Ball State. This leaves Drew Horne as the only player on the team who didn’t pitch Wednesday or isn’t scheduled to pitch Friday or Saturday that has started a game for the Vols this season. Horne has posted a 3.60 ERA with 2K’s and 2BB’s in 5 innings. It is unclear who Serrano will send to the hump on Sunday, and Horne is just one of his options.
Cale Wine has a 3.12ERA with 12 strikeouts and 11 walks in 17.1 innings this year for ULM.
What to Expect
Expect this to be a closely contested series. Louisiana-Monroe has stood toe-to-toe with some good baseball teams already on this young season. Don’t be surprised if they give the Vols a tough time this weekend. However, I expect the Vols to be the better team. I would consider anything less than 2 wins a slight disappointment as Tennessee heads into SEC play.