#1 Tennessee Beats Vandy To Complete Sweep and Shift Power in College Baseball
VOLS choose to play it mellow during Sunday showdown that sought $800 for some seats
It was hailed as the College Baseball showdown of the early decade- as two Top 5 ballclubs went at it all weekend long. We expected fireworks and trash talking. What we got were 3 workmanlike wins by Tennessee that got them only their 3rd sweep vs Vandy in the 21st Century and the 1st sweep by a visiting team vs the Boys since 2009. In a word, wow.
27-1. 9-0 in the tough and talented SEC. Number One in the Nation. All eyes are on GBO Baseball right now.
Obviously, this series would start with a major controversy… VOLS stud Jordan Beck blasted an absolute bomb to start off Game 1 and he was called out by the umpires, after they failed to find the approved sticker on his bat (after being tipped off by the Vandy Catcher). After the game, Tennessee Head Coach Tony Vitello created baseball slang when he sarcastically dropped this quote on ESPN: “I don’t even know that Jordan Beck should be at (the) University of Tennessee. He forged his transcript. He’s actually a 35-year-old man named Mike Honcho.” Newsflash… We will be hearing the words Mike Honcho around this series for years to come.
Vandy did not play awful during the weekend. They pitched well- and the 1st game was kind of an outlier that was marred by TWO balls lost in their brand new stadium lights. The Commodores did not stage any rallies at all though- swinging it to the tune of a .125 weekend series batting average. That is just not gonna get it done.
But, who could blame them? They had to face hot hot arms all weekend: Freshman phenom Chase Burns (Gallatin, TN) who’s slider is as nasty as they come. Second year stud Chase Dollander dominated Game 2. On fire frosh righty Drew Beam from Murfreesboro tossed a 2-hit shutout gem on Sunday that has people wondering how you can even grab 1 win during a weekend series with the Vols.
Did this Sweep make a statement that can be felt throughout the baseball world? The answer is YES. And, NO. Obviously, these ballclubs are now fighting for the same MLB level talent recruits- so this series gives the VOLS a huge boost in the competitive recruiting world. And it gives them an absolute chokehold on the season title in the SEC. On the other hand, let’s be honest… You’ve done almost nothing unless you’ve done it in Omaha. And which team is playing the hottest at the end of the season is what is really important here. You don’t just erase the fact that Vanderbilt is a baseball dynasty who just lost two of the greatest college pitchers of all time to the Draft. Coach Corbin is a legend and Coach Vitiello is the young, hot skipper who has yet to hoist the trophy. There is a fascinating tension between the two coaches and programs. The Vandy Boys have that reputation for having fun, but doing everything right, while the Vols have that well-earned rep as a club who pushes the boundaries of baseball tradition and etiquette with their brash celebrations and trash talk. Who is really to say which way is better? For a purist like myself, the Vandy Way is the standard. But, the Game of Baseball is evolving and we cannot slow or deny that. We shall see how things play out over the next few years.