Tennessee baseball sweeps Iona with historic offense: Three takeaways

Tennessee's Trey Lipscomb at bat against UNC Asheville in the NCAA baseball game at Lindsey Nelson Stadium on Wednesday, February 26, 2020.Kns Tn Unc Asheville
Tennessee's Trey Lipscomb at bat against UNC Asheville in the NCAA baseball game at Lindsey Nelson Stadium on Wednesday, February 26, 2020.Kns Tn Unc Asheville /

No team has come within seven runs of Tennessee baseball all year, and with this past weekend’s series against the Iona Gaels, they have now won five straight games by at least 10 runs. While pitching has been the story so far this year, offense made the big splash this weekend.

Tony Vitello’s team accomplished a rare feat of back-to-back games with over 20 runs. In fact, they had over 25 runs both times, beating Iona 27-1 on Friday and then 29-0 on Saturday. They then won 12-2 on Sunday in a game that was called after seven innings.

Rocky Top improves to 7-0 overall with a midweek game against the ETSU Bucs Tuesday before heading to Houston this weekend to take part in the Shriners Hospitals for Children College Classic, facing the Texas Longhorns, Baylor Bears and Oklahoma Sooners. Here are three things we learned from Tennessee baseball’s sweep.

1. Extra base hits were a regular.

Doubles, triples and home runs is where this offensive production came. Trey Lipscomb exemplified this perfectly, hitting for the cycle on Friday, which included two doubles in a five-for-five performance, and then hitting a single, a triple and a home run on Saturday before adding another double on Sunday. UT had 13 home runs, two triples and 16 doubles.

These extra base hits produced 50 of UT’s program series-record 68 runs over the weekend, and the homers alone produced 24 runs. Lipscomb, Jared Dickey, Evan Russell, Cordland Lawson and Jordan Beck all hit two home runs in this three-game series.

2. Elite defense proves it also has flexibility.

You have to give credit to Tennessee baseball’s defense for its play over the weekend. They are already a top 15 team in fielding percentage at .993, and they went over 99 percent again in this series with just one error. What really stood out though was Vitello being able to try new things

He moved Dickey to catcher on Sunday and Evan Russell to left field since Russell needed reps in the outfield and his backup, at catcher, Charlie Taylor, was hurt. Dickey had seven putouts while the team had no errors that day. This flexibility is a big deal going forward.

3. Don’t forget about the pitching.

Although their offense was the storyline, the Vols’ pitching is still carrying them too. They allowed 0 earned runs through the first two games, and the two they gave up in the final game came in the sixth inning with true freshman Grant Cherry on the mound. A 0.68 WHIP for the weekend with 15 different starters seeing the mound is incredible.

Next. Ranking Vols five CWS teams. dark

Chase Burns and Chase Dollander both went five innings, a big deal, and Drew Beam went just over three. Power pitching was again the story, as they had 12.6 strikeouts per nine innings over the weekend. Dollander had 18 strikeouts per nine innings in his start, and six different relievers were at least that good, so the dominance was clear.