By Justin Clemmer
KNOXVILLE, Tenn. – No. 12 Tennessee took care of business Tuesday as they defeated the Western Carolina Catamounts 7-0.
The Vols returned home to Lindsey Nelson Stadium after getting swept in their first SEC series of the year, as Missouri defeated them convincingly in all three games in Columbia.
Head coach Tony Vitello was asked what the message was to the team following the sweep.
“We didn’t have one, we got on the bus and got out of there,” said Vitello.
Two days later, home runs from senior Christian Scott and junior Cal Stark would be enough to get back in the win column.
Tuesday’s game featured an interesting batting order as Blake Burke was the only regular starter that was in the lineup. What went into the change is unclear.
“Just kind of instinct,” Vitello said. “No crazy method to the madness.”
The typical starters spent most of the game from the dugout, after the little success they had up in Columbia.
“You guys have seen it, we’ve scattered them about and are trying to get the right pieces to the puzzles out here,” Vitello said.
One of the last minute changes was fifth year senior Christian Scott being plugged in at center field. Scott had a great night with a home run, an RBI and two walks.
“Just trying to be that light, the same mutual benefit here and everything… just playing the best I can to help the person next to me, and then they play the best they can and help the person next to them and so forth,” Scott said. “You know, showing up to work, like I said, and playing ball.”
Scott hasn’t been in the lineup consistently this season, but with what has recently transpired, Vitello believed him and the other players in tonight’s lineup earned their shot.
“Some of these guys had to sit there with the wind blowing in their face in Green Bay Packer weather and not play and yet are expected to cheer on their teammates for (23) innings,” Vitello said. “They deserve to get out there and play and maybe some of the other guys need to realize you don’t know when you’re not going to get to play, so take advantage of it when you’re out there.”
Like Vitello said, he and his staff are still figuring out the pieces to the puzzle.
The next chance to see who the Vols put out on the field is this Friday as No. 21 Texas A&M comes to Lindsey Nelson Field for the Vols’ second SEC series this season. Friday’s game will start at 6:30 p.m. ET.