It's Baseball Time In Tennessee: #10 Vols @ #1 LSU Series Preview 3/30-4/1

Recently: Tennessee bounced back from an SEC-opening sweep at the hands of Missouri to beat Western Carolina 7-4 in the midweek and then take a sweep of their own against Texas A&M (10-4, 8-7, 9-6). UT followed up with a 5-0 win against UNC-Ashville this past Tuesday. 

Previously on Vols-Tigers: The good news is, despite an overall 28-59 deficit all-time against LSU, Tennessee has won 6 straight against the Tigers, including a Super Regional sweep in 2021 to advance to the College World Series and a 5-2 win in last year's SEC Tournament. The bad news is that series advantage for LSU gets even more lopsided when the game is in Baton Rouge, with the Vols trailing 8-32 all-time on the Bayou. 

Who to Watch: Man, LSU is good. They lead the SEC in just about every offensive statistical category. Centerfielder Dylan Crews has especially silly numbers, batting .542 with a .981 slugging % and 1.655 OPS--good enough to lead nationally in each of those categories. Basically, never pitch to the guy. They're good on the mound, too, with Friday Thursday starter Paul Skenes leading the SEC with a 0.72 ERA and an impressive 17.2 strikeouts/9 innings. 

First iteration of a stats infographic is below. I'm not thrilled with how it came out--I feel it's too cluttered. There will be some revisions before next weekend's series with Florida. 

What's worrisome is that so far this season, LSU has put up awesome offensive numbers and pretty darn good pitching numbers, while Tennessee has put up fantastic pitching stats but just mediocre offense. There's a much bigger gap between the teams offensively than there is between pitching staffs. However, after that disastrous SEC-opening series at Missouri, UT has looked much better at the plate. And LSU has dropped a game in each of their first two SEC series, so they're not untouchable. 

A series win would be an incredible boon for UT but is probably unrealistic. Best case scenario for the Vols this weekend is likely to steal a game and look competitive in the other two. Then regroup and get ready for Florida to come to town next weekend. 


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