Tennessee baseball: Three takeaways from Vols’ SEC Championship win vs. Florida

After running away with the SEC regular season title for the first time since 1995, Tennessee baseball doubled up by capturing its first SEC Tournament championship since 1995 as well. The Vols beat the No. 7 seed Florida Gators 8-5 Sunday to win the event.

Tony Vitello’s team, which is ranked No. 1 across the board and was the No. 1 overall seed, never lost a game in the double-elimination tournament. They broke a scoreless tie in this one thanks to four runs in the fifth inning and another three in the sixth.

With the win, they improve to 53-7 and will now wait to see where they are seeded in the NCAA Tournament on Monday, May 30. Florida falls to 39-22. Here are three things we learned from Tennessee baseball’s championship victory.

1. Defense helped a great day from Camden Sewell.

Not allowing an earned run in five innings pitched speaks to Camden Sewell’s play. However, he only struck out one batter and did allow six hits on the day. Defense on the left side of the infield is what helped the Vols win. Trey Lipscomb had six assists and two putouts from third base with no errors. Cortland Lawson had an assist and a putout with no errors at shortstop.

Jorel Ortega did have an error at second, but it came in the ninth with the game already in hand, and he had five assists and two putouts. Will Mabrey, Mark McLaughlin and Kirby Connell all had solid pitching days too. Ben Joyce did allow two runs, Zander Sechrist allowed one, and Redmond Walsh allowed one beyond Ortega’s error, but Sewell and his immediate backups stepped up.

2. Offense continued cashing in on mistakes.

To be fair, building off the previous slide, Evan Russell caught Wyatt Langford attempting a steal, so the mistakes by Florida weren’t just on offense. Russell deserves praise for how he played in the field Sunday. Anyway, Tennessee baseball fed of Florida mistakes, as they have been doing all season long.

Florida committed two errors on the day and allowed four unearned runs. Russell reached second on an error in the fourth and eventually scored. Then came a wild pitch later that advanced Seth Stephenson and Blake Burke, both of whom eventually scored. This is what broke the game open, and it’s been a theme in terms of the Vols’ breaks this tournament.

3. Power continues to be unnecessary.

Stop with all the conspiracies of what the Vols are doing with their bats. The didn’t rely on power at all to win the SEC Tournament, and that continued Sunday. In addition to the help they got from mistakes, they scored runs off a bunt from Seth Stephenson in the third and doubles from Stephenson, Drew Gilbert and Luc Lipcius.

Gilbert was the star, as he did hit the only home run of the day for Tennessee baseball, a solo shot in the ninth. For the game, he went 2-of-5 with four RBIs and was the best player among everybody competing in the tournament. He showed all the ways UT could score.