Tennessee baseball's hot start fizzles in series loss to Alabama

Tennessee baseball came into their SEC opening series on fire and continued their success on the plate in the series opener, but it was all Alabama after that.
Mar 16, 2024; Tuscaloosa, Alabama, USA; Tennessee pitcher Drew Beam sits not he ground after being
Mar 16, 2024; Tuscaloosa, Alabama, USA; Tennessee pitcher Drew Beam sits not he ground after being / Gary Cosby Jr.-Tuscaloosa News / USA

Tennessee baseball opened SEC play on Friday with their 11-3 series opener win over Alabama in Tuscaloosa. It looked like Tennessee was going to handle business in another weekend series, extending their win streak to 17 games.

Tennessee's Friday night win was a repeat of what they have done all season—hit, hit, and hit some more. This is undoubtedly one of, if not the most talented, teams at the plate Vitello has had since coming to Rocky Top.

The Vols scored in six separate innings on Friday, showing what they are capable of offensively against a really good Alabama team. No. 14 Alabama came into games two and three with a chip on their shoulder, while Tennessee cruised through the rest of the weekend.

In game two, Alabama got the bats hot early, scoring one in the first, two in the second, and three in the third. The Tide's six runs in the first three innings were all they scored on Saturday night, but the Vols were too late attempting to make the comeback. Tennessee scored one in the fourth, seventh, and eighth but couldn't add three more runs in the ninth to tie things up at the end.

The Vols and Tide went back and forth throughout the rubber match on Sunday. Alabama took an early 1-0 lead in the first before the Vols stormed back for a four-run third inning. After that, they matched each other before Alabama's Gage Miller hit a three-run home run in the eighth inning to give the Tide a two-run lead, which was too much for Tennessee to overcome in the ninth.

Tennessee will face another challenge next weekend as the Vols will host the Ole Miss Rebels, who are 15-6 to start the year. They can also get the bats going, so Tennessee could face an early deficit again if the Vols aren't bringing the heat early on in their weekend series.

Tony Vitello's squad ends the first weekend of conference play with an 18-3 record, after going 1-2 on the weekend series. The Vols will look to rebound in their midweek game against Xavier before hosting Ole Miss this weekend for their first home SEC series of the season. The weekend series will be on SEC Network+.