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Tony Vitello expresses frustration in offensive struggles vs. Vanderbilt

Barkley-Truaxby:Barkley Truax05/13/24


No. 1 Tennessee drove back to Knoxville on Sunday with a 2-1 series victory over SEC rival Vanderbilt despite falling to the Commodores 2-1 in game three.

Despite winning their eighth-straight conference series, Volunteers head coach Tony Vitello was dissatisfied with his team’s scoreless performance as left fielder Dylan Dreiling‘s 3-4 performance was the only offense the Vols were able to muster on Sunday.

“It’s not like they didn’t show up energized,” Vitello said after game three. “There’s no over-celebrating or anything like that. They certainly wanted to win. You could sense that. I think a combination of both is always going to be the case, but it’s got to start with a guy that is throwing the ball well.”

Vanderbilt starting pitcher JD Thompson went 6.0 innings, fanning nine Volunteers bats while allowing two hits. He was relieved ahead of the seventh inning by Devin Futrell, who was equally as impressing logging five strikeouts while letting up just one hit before finishing off the ‘Dores in the ninth.

“I didn’t really sense the approach at the plate but the frustration in the dugout was a little too high,” Vitello continued. “Of course, there’s hooting and hollering in the middle of the game. One thing we talked about earlier was when frustration creeps in , there’s a right way to handle it and a wrong way to handle it. I can’t speak for everybody because I can’t get inside their head, but obviously the scoreboard says there was at least a way to handle it a little bit better.”

Now, the Vols move on to a mid-week matchup against Belmont in Knoxville. Vitello said that while it stings to lose the Sunday matchup after going up 2-0 in the series, his group can’t keep that sour taste in their mouths because just 48 hours later — they’re going to need to focus on the next task.

Not only that — but Tennessee will turn right around after that and battle South Carolina for a three-game set on Thursday, Friday and Saturday.

“You need to be ready to rock-and-roll there but at some point you also need to realize that we’re in a race with the other team and we’re trying to beat them to two wins and we were able to do that,” Vitello said.

First pich between the Vols and Bruins is set for 5 p.m. ET live on SEC Network+.