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Tony Vitello praises top of Tennessee's batting order

Chandler Vesselsby:Chandler Vessels05/06/24


It was a massive outing for the Tennessee bats Saturday in a 16-3 run-rule victory against Florida, and it started at the top. The top four players in the Vols’ lineup finished a combined 6-of-15 at the plate with five RBI.

That included leadoff hitter Christian Moore going 3-for-5 with a home run. It continued a trend from Friday’s doubleheader when the top four players in the order — Moore, Blake Burke, Billy Amick and Dylan Dreiling — combined for 15 of Tennessee’s 18 hits.

The Vols finally got some help from the bottom of their lineup Saturday, which led to the big win. Hunter Ensley led the way with a pair of doubles and a three-run homer to tie Moore for the team-lead in hits with three.

Tennessee coach Tony Vitello addressed the play from the top of his lineup, and how their consistency makes the Vols a scary team to face when the bottom is also clicking.

“Those guys lead the way for us,” he said. “KT does as well. I’m glad it looks like we’re past this little hip deal because it made it a frustrating week for us in a lot of ways. But those top five guys have been very consistent for us. You really can add in Dean (Curley) and Ensley now too. So there’s good defense, there’s competitiveness and guys who can hurt you with the bat.”

Tennessee moved up to No. 1 in this week’s D1 Baseball poll thanks to the win as well as a loss from previous No. 1 Texas A&M. It goes to show the ceiling for the Vols and their hitters are certainly one of the things that make them so dangerous.

Tennessee has the best batting average of any team in the SEC at .324 as a team and also leads the conference with 126 home runs. Moore, Burke and Amick have combined for 54 of those long balls and have the best three batting averages of anyone on the team.

However, in order to reach the ultimate goal, Vitello knows the Vols will need days like they had Sunday. They have a game against Queens looming Tuesday before starting a series against in-state rival Vanderbilt this weekend.

“We would like to see it be a threat 1-9 on offense,” Vitello said. “On a day where you’ve got a lefty up their grooving, at least it’s difficult on ’em. Nine innings can be a long time and when that lineup has got the right mindset and a good approach to it, you can see it’s a painful lineup to navigate through regardless of whether they score.”