Baseball Preview: No. 23 Tennessee vs. No. 24 Missouri

Credit: UT Athletics

KNOXVILLE, Tenn. – No. 23 Tennessee will look to rebound from a tough series against Arkansas as No. 24 Missouri comes to town for an important SEC series at Lindsey Nelson Stadium this weekend.

The Vols enter this weekend’s series 1.5 games behind the Tigers for third place in the SEC Eastern division.

Broadcast Info
Friday and Sunday’s games will be streamed live online via SEC Network+ and the WatchESPN app while Saturday’s contest will be televised live on the SEC Network. John Wilkerson and Vince Ferrara will also call all three games for the Vol Network (FM 99.1/AM 990) as well as UTSports.com and the UT Gameday App.

Projected Starting Pitchers
Friday: RHP Garrett Stallings (7-3, 2.71 ERA vs. LHP Jacob Cantleberry (4-3, 3.97 ERA)
Saturday: LHP Garrett Crochet (3-2, 3.40 ERA)  vs. LHP TJ Sikkema (5-3, 1.31 ERA)
Sunday: RHP Zach Linginfelter (6-4, 3.92 ERA) vs. TBA

Series History vs. Missouri
Overall: Missouri leads, 12-6
In Knoxville: Missouri leads, 6-3
In Columbia: Missouri leads, 6-3
Neutral Sites: N/A
Last Meeting: May 19, 2018 in Columbia (L, 8-3)

Tennessee and Missouri had never met on the diamond prior to the Tigers joining the SEC in 2013. The Vols dominated the series early on, winning five of the first seven meetings, but it has been all Mizzou as of late, winning 10 of the past 11 matchups, including two of three in the final series of the regular season last year to keep UT from advancing to the SEC Tournament.

Need to Know

  • No. 24 Missouri will be the seventh top-25 opponent that Tennessee has faced this season. The Vols boast six victories over ranked teams including a 5-4 record against such teams at home.
  • Despite having a rough weekend at No. 6 Arkansas, UT’s pitching staff has been the main factor behind the success of the team this season. The Vols lead all Division I programs with nine shutouts and also rank among the top 10 in the nation in ERA (eighth), WHIP (third), strikeout-to-walk ratio (fourth) and walks allowed per nine innings (fourth).
  • The other major factor to Tennessee’s success has been a massive improvement defensively. The Vols enter this weekend’s series ranked 14th in the country and third in the SEC with a .980 fielding percentage. Last season, UT finished the year ranked 140th nationally and 13th in the SEC with a .970 fielding percentage.
  • Andre Lipcius hit his team-leading 11th home run of the season last Friday against Arkansas. His 11 dingers are the most by a Tennessee player since current Detroit Tigers’ outfielder Christin Stewart had 15 back in 2015.
  • With five runs batted in last week, Lipcius set a new career high for RBI in a single season with 43. His 11 homers are also a career best.
  • One of the bright spots from last weekend’s series at Arkansas was the Vols’ two-out hitting. The Big Orange had 13 hits and scored 14 of their 15 runs in the series with two outs.
  • Junior speedster Jay Charleston continues to move up the Tennessee career steals list. With an SEC-leading 30 stolen bases this season, Charleston has 56 for his career and has moved into a tie for sixth with Jordan Czarniecki and Jeff Christiansen on the Vols’ all-time list. He needs just five more to pass Wil Maddox for fifth on the list.
  • With 11 and 10 home runs, respectively, Lipcius and Alerick Soularie give Tennessee multiple players with double-digit homers for the first time since 2010 when Blake Forsythe had 15, Cody Hawn had 14 and P.J. Polk had 12.

Opponent Scout
Missouri Tigers (31-15-1, 10-10-1 SEC)

  • 2018 Record: 34-22 (12-18 SEC)
  • 2018 Postseason: N/A
  • Missouri has been one of the biggest surprises in the SEC this season, entering this weekend in third place in the SEC Eastern Division standings after being picked to finish last in the division in the preseason coaches’ poll.
  • The Tigers are led by third-year head coach Steve Bieser, who earned his 100th win at Missouri with last Sunday’s victory over South Carolina to complete the series sweep against the Gamecocks.
  • Missouri enters the weekend ranked No. 25 in the USA Today Coaches’ Poll, its first ranking in the poll this season. The Tigers are also ranked as high as No. 24 in the D1Baseball.comTop 25 and the Baseball America Top 25.
  • The Tigers have earned SEC series wins over Ole Miss, Kentucky, LSU and South Carolina this season and are coming off a series sweep over the Gamecocks.
  • Mizzou is led by a pitching staff that leads the SEC and ranks fourth in the nation with a 3.03 team ERA. Projected Saturday starter TJ Sikkema has led the way with a 5-3 record and a 1.31 ERA that ranks second in the SEC.
  • Offensively, the Tigers feature seven players with 20 or more RBI this season. Chris Cornelius leads the team with a .348 batting average, 64 hits and 39 RBI while Kameron Misner leads Mizzou with 49 runs scored and 10 home runs.
  • Mizzou is also one of the most effective teams in the nation at stealing bases. The Tigers rank 15th nationally and lead the SEC with 89 stolen bases this season.

Game Promotions
Upcoming promotions for all Tennessee athletics home events can be found on the UT Fan Experience page by clicking HERE.

ALL GAMES THIS SEASON

  • Kids Combo: Corn dog, chips and a drink for just $6!

ALL WEEKEND

  • Little League Weekend: Youth team players ages 12 & under receive free general admission tickets when wearing their team jersey. Teams may also submit up to two coaches to receive free general admission.

FRIDAY

  • Giveaway: First 200 fans receive a Tennessee Gray Shirsey!
  • Fiesta Friday / Free Food Friday for Students:
    • First 100 students receive Moe’s Nachos at Nacho Bar
    • First 100 students receive a Buddy’s BBQ Sandwich
    • First 100 students receive a Fiesta Friday Koozie
    • Prized will be given out to students throughout the game
  • Big Orange Friday: Buy one general admission ticket, get one general admission ticket FREE! Print your Big Orange Friday voucher HERE(PDF) and be sure to wear ORANGE to the game.

SATURDAY

  • Baseball Bingo: Pick up your Bingo card at the Fan HQ Tent located on the plaza.
  • Grandparents Day: $15 ticket package includes a ticket for grandparent and grandchild and a shirt for both!
  • Giveaway: First 200 little leaguers get a free Tennessee baseball shirsey!

SUNDAY

  • Kids Day: All kids 12 and under receive free admission. Run the bases and get postgame autographs from select players (Weather Permitting).
  • Ceremonial First Pitch: VFL Alan Cockrell (Former MLB Player & Coach)

On Deck for the Vols
The Big Orange wrap up a four-game homestand next Tuesday with a midweek matchup against in-state foe Austin Peay at 6 p.m. The game will be streamed live on SEC Network+ and the WatchESPN app.

 

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