Tennessee Softball: Keys for Vols in Series at No. 10 Ranked Georgia Bulldogs


Tennessee softball begins a three-game weekend series Saturday at the No. 10 ranked Georgia Bulldogs. Here are the keys for the No. 15 Volunteers.

In its fifth straight SEC series against a ranked opponent, the Tennessee Vols have a major test in Athens beginning Saturday as they still struggle to win on the road against ranked teams.

However, Ralph and Karen Weekly’s team is riding an incredible wave of momentum after a home sweep against the then No. 10 ranked Texas A&M Aggies last weekend to improve to 17- 0 at home.

Now, at 31-10 and riding a four-game winning streak, they have another very tough test for them against the 35-8 Bulldogs.

Here are the keys for the Vols this weekend against the Dawgs.

1. Aggression on the base paths

Tennessee is a Top 25 team in stolen bases per game and has a 90 percent success rate on stealing. With two stolen bases a game, they might want to up that to three in this series. Georgia is decent in the field, but they are not in the Top 75 in overall fielding percentage, and they also have made quite a few errors on the year with the overwhelming majority of them coming from inexperienced infielders.

Given the fact that the Dawgs have a 2.01 ERA as a team, the Vols need to score where they can. Their best chance is to exploit a few errors while getting an extra base. However, this works both ways.

2. Play much better in the field

While Georgia doesn’t have a great fielding percentage, Tennessee’s is even worse. Fortunately for the Vols, the Dawgs do not go for lots of extra base hits. They are just a highly efficient singles team and decent with home runs. That’s a good fit for these Vols given how solid their pitching has been on the year, if it can stay up on the road.

But the big thing for the defense is to not make too many errors. The Bulldogs are going to have one or two guys on the bas path many times in this series, and there will be plenty of times with them in scoring position. Tennessee cannot afford to make that worse by committing too many errors.

3. Patience at the plate

In many ways, the Vols and the Dawgs are identical teams. They have great pitching, great offensive production, and mediocre fielding defense. But both play a bit of small ball in their own way: Tennessee by aggression on the base path and Georgia by knocking in consistent singles. So the big thing for the Vols is to not panic.

This is the type of series where Georgia could get more hits in every game, but they could also get more errors and allow more extra bases to the Vols. As a result, Tennessee should never panic when at the plate. One player on base could quickly turn into a run. So stay patient at the plate in order to show a healthy amount of aggression on the bases, and that will translate to more runs.