Today, Feb. 1, the Tennessee baseball team held their preseason meet and greet event from 3-5 p.m. at Lindsey Nelson Stadium.
Fans were able to watch a practice before the event started. After the practice, fans had the opportunity to meet the 2020 Vols while touring the baseball stadium and facilities.
During the tour of the stadium, fans were able to make stops through all of the Tennessee’s facilities, including batting cages, where all kids ages 12 and younger had the opportunity to participate in batting practice. Players and coaches were also available to sign autographs throughout the tour.
Those who attended received a free admission voucher to one of the Volunteers’ opening-weekend series games against Western Illinois, which will take place during Feb. 14-16.
Tennessee is scheduled to play 37 home games during the regular season, with 12 of those games against teams who participated in the NCAA Tournament last year. Nine contests are against teams who made it to Super Regionals, as well as six games against teams who went to Omaha for the College World Series.
During the offseason, outfielder Evan Russell, pitcher Camden Sewell, and head coach Tony Vitello spoke about their expectations of teammates and themselves for the upcoming season.
Russell on the season starting in a few weeks:
“It’s been good. Getting the season started and the team is looking great as well. Everybody is looking healthy and it’s going to be a great year.”
Russell on Vols’ schedule and them not being in the top 25:
“Most people look at it as a threat that we aren’t in the top 25 and also that we face a lot of teams inside the top 10, but we look at it as a challenge. I think we are ready and honestly it feels like we got stabbed in the back for not being in the top 25. I think we are excited to upset some feelings and we're gonna prove people wrong.”
Russell on what Tennessee’s strengths are:
“We are definitely gonna lean on our pitching, it’s the biggest part of our game. The Frank Anderson effect is gonna take place and everybody knows it. I think our hitters can give our pitching staff some support, because we know as they go, we go.”
Sewell on what he worked on during the offseason:
“I was focusing on developing my pitches and cutting down on my walks. I was really focusing on my change-up and curveball. Last year it was my fastball and slider, but this year I feel confident with all of my pitches."
Sewell on what excites him the most about the team:
“The potential. I think we have a good team with great chemistry. We are all just looking forward to going out there and getting some work.”
Sewell on the team’s pitching depth:
“I don’t think there is any problem with having depth and the more you have the better it is. We have tons of guys in the bullpen who we can throw out there in any situation and feel really comfortable with whoever it out there.”
Vitello on his expectations for the 2020 season:
“Well, I think you always want to make progress, but I also think you’d like to be apart of a program were it becomes difficult to keep improving each year because of the standard you want to keep. We are a long way away from that, so we are just keeping it vague and are remaining ambitious but there is no question that the guys would like to take the momentum from last year and carry it into this year. That pertains more from the attitudes and expectations as opposed to the actual results, because last year we were able to accumulate a pretty good amount of wins.”
Opening day for the Vols is Feb. 14 against Western Illinois.