After basketball season ends at the University of Tennessee, the sports frenzy tends to slow down on campus and throughout the fan base.
The softball team always does well in the spring, though the fan base doesn’t embrace it like football and basketball. The baseball team hasn’t been competitive since 2005, and frankly, fans don’t care as much about the smaller spring sports.
The one exception in the spring is typically the Saturday of the Orange and White game. 30+ thousand fans flock to campus on that one day to watch a glorified scrimmage of their favorite football team.
This year, there is a different feel to the game and on campus for that Saturday. Not only is the game going to be an evening game for the first time in its history, but the game is surrounded by other big sporting events happening on campus this weekend. Fans who are coming to campus just for the game might be surprised to find that there are a lot of events happening, and the spring sports at Tennessee are, in fact, pretty good.
On Thursday night, the Tennessee baseball team begins a three-game series against the No.2 ranked Georgia Bulldogs. The Vols are coming off of a Tuesday night performance against Lipscomb where they hit a program tying record of seven home runs. The team comes in with a 24-10 record, just five wins away from their win total of last year.
The Vols need a series win to show that they are a legit threat in the SEC and to keep up the chance of making the NCAA Tournament for the first time since 2005.
The softball team is once again a dominant force, coming into the weekend as the No. 9 ranked team according to USA Today. They take on Mississippi State starting on Friday and concluding on Sunday.
The Lady Vols come into the series looking to prove something, as they dropped two out of three at home to Auburn last weekend. The team sits with a 29-8 record and have impressive wins on the season already, including a series win at Florida.
Beginning on Thursday, along with the baseball series, is the 52nd Tennessee Relays for the track and field team. This is one of just two meets on campus all season and hosts 31 teams. The meet lasts from Thursday through Saturday. The track program is off to a fast start through their first two meets of the season, as the men’s team ranks No. 23, and the women’s team sits ranked No. 16.
The teams have been dominant in the field events this season with Stamatia Scarvelis leading the way for the women’s team in the shot put, hammer throw and discus, winning SEC women’s field athlete of the week already this season, while Darryl Sullivan (high jump) and Jalen Tate (triple jump and long jump) have impressed for the men’s team.
The women’s tennis team finishes up its regular season this weekend with two home matches against Vanderbilt on Friday and Kentucky on Sunday. The No. 18 Lady Vols come in with an 18-5 record and currently sit in fourth place in the SEC, one match behind Vanderbilt. The team is led in singles by senior Sadie Hammond who ranks No. 72 in the nation while the doubles team of Hammond and Kaitlin Staines ranks No.11.
While the weekend will all be centered around the Orange & White game on Saturday evening, there is more than just football on campus. The Vols have four ranked teams competing on campus this weekend, and that doesn’t include the men’s tennis and men’s golf teams, which are also ranked.
So, while UT fans obsess over recruiting news and which football player gained 30 pounds over the offseason, they might want to look up sporting events every once and awhile, because there are plenty of more successful programs competing right now on campus.