Baseball preview

Jordan Rodgers, #7, of the Tennessee Volunteers during the game against South Carolina at Lindsey Nelson Stadium on March 18, 2017.

After being swept by the No. 7 Gamecocks over the weekend, the Vols (12-5, 0-3) will look to weather the storm against the Thundering Herd on Wednesday night. Marshall (10-7, 2-1) comes into the contest the winner of nine of its last 11 after a slow start to the season.

Originally scheduled for Tuesday, March 21, the game was moved to Wednesday due to scheduling conflicts.

One of the main concerns for the Thundering Herd is pitching. Their pitching staff has a team earned run average of 5.11. In comparison, Tennessee's team ERA is at 3.51 for the season.

With a struggling pitching staff coming to town, the Tennessee hitters should be licking their chops.

After a season-high 18 runs against Austin Peay, the Vols' offense struggled to get things going against South Carolina. Over the weekend series, the team totaled just seven runs.

The bats of Jeff Moberg, Andre Lipcius and Jordan Rodgers will need to be strong to get the offense back on track. Moberg is having a career year, hitting .417 while having already blasted five home runs. Rodgers has reached base safely in all 16 games he has played in this season, while Lipcius has also reached base in each of the first 17 games of his collegiate career.

Those three players have been the team's consistent hitters, but the lineup around them will have to step up against Marshall to generate multiple runs. Marshall has given up as many as 20 runs this season.

While the bats will look to get back on track for the Vols, the pitching staff will attempt to improve as well. In its last series against the Gamecocks, the team's pitching was strong in spurts but not for a complete game.

The Thundering Herd hitters aren't scary, but the offense does produce runs. Their team batting average is only .252, but they have scored 100 runs in their 17 games. In comparison, Tennessee has scored 111 runs in their 17 games, but with a much higher team batting average of .308.

The pitching staff is getting deeper, with more pitchers starting to make appearances. Just last week alone, 11 pitchers took the mound for the Vols.

The starting pitcher tomorrow night for the Vols is Daniel Vasquez. Vasquez has appeared in six games this season with a 2.61 ERA and a 2-0 record.

This game will be a little different for Vasquez, because it will be his first start of the season. Vasquez, a sophomore, started four games last year. His season-long for innings pitched this season is 2.1, while last season he pitched a career-long 5 innings in a start against Cincinnati.

The game will be at Lindsey-Nelson Stadium tomorrow night, March 22, at 6 p.m.

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