Tennessee baseball: Three takeaways from Vols’ weekend sweep vs. Rhode Island

Tennessee Head Coach Tony Vitello eyes the game at Lindsey Nelson Stadium in Knoxville, Tenn. on Friday, May 14, 2021.Kns Vols Arkansas Opener
Tennessee Head Coach Tony Vitello eyes the game at Lindsey Nelson Stadium in Knoxville, Tenn. on Friday, May 14, 2021.Kns Vols Arkansas Opener /

Another weekend, another non-conference sweep for Tennessee baseball. This time, the Vols beat the Rhode Island Rams in a three-game series after a midweek seep against the James Madison Dukes, which included a doubleheader Friday and then the final game on Sunday.

Tony Vitello’s team, ranked anywhere between No. 11 and No. 3 across different outlets, won the first two games 17-4 and 8-3. Then they won on Sunday 12-3. The only time they trailed the whole weekend was 1-0 after the top of the first in Sunday’s game, and they scored four runs in the bottom of the first.

With the win, UT improves to 15-1 overall and will face the Eastern Kentucky Colonels Tuesday before beginning SEC play next weekend with a three game series against the South Carolina Gamecocks. Rhode Island falls to 0-13 and will next face the Sacred Heart Pioneers for their home opener Wednesday. Here are three things we learned from Tennessee baseball’s sweep.

1. More power leads the way.

This seems to be a recurring theme for the Vols, but it happened again over the weekend. They scored eight runs over the weekend off of six homers. It went deep into the lineup as well, as nobody hit more than one homer in the series.

Luc Lipcius went long with a solo shot in the first game Friday. Christian Scott and Cortland Lawson then hit back to back homers in the fifth inning of the second game, and Christian Moore later hit one the same inning. All were solo shots. Jared Dickey and Logan Steenstra each hit two-run homers Sunday.

2. Aggressive base running added to the power.

Over the weekend, Tennessee baseball attempted 10 steals and was successful six of those times. Lipcius and Lawson each stole one. Seth Stephenson and Jordan Beck each stole two. Scott, Lawson, Jorel Ortega and Lipcius were all thrown out once.

In addition to those steals, the Vols had a triple every game, one from Dickey, one from Moore and one from Stephenson. They also had nine doubles. Dickey had two Friday, Evan Russell had two Saturday and on Sunday, Trey Lipscomb had one Friday and two Sunday, and Blake Burke had one Sunday. This generated lots of extra runs and even more dominance.

3. Pitching was fine, but defense was an issue.

Drew Beam had a rough Friday, and Camden Sewell had a rough Sunday as a reliever, but outside of those two pitchers, only one earned run was allowed the whole weekend. There were four unearned runs, which was a major problem.

Next. Ranking Vols' five College World Series teams. dark

UT committed four errors over the weekend for a fielding percentage of 96.6. That’s not terrible, but two runs were scored Sunday on bad throws. That can’t happen entering SEC play, so it has to be brought up here, with them facing a winless team.