BASEBALL PREVIEW: Vols Prepare for Super Regionals

Photo credit: Ian Cox/ Tennessee Athletics

By Devin Hoke

KNOXVILLE, Tennessee – Super Regionals are now just hours away, and the Tennessee Volunteers will travel to Hattiesburg to take on Southern Mississippi. Outfielder Griffin Merritt and head coach Tony Vitello spoke to the media ahead of their travels to Mississippi Thursday morning. 

Tennessee disappointed in the SEC tournament before regionals, but Griffin Merritt believes that may have been a blessing in disguise. 

“Looking back it might have been a blessing”, Merritt states, “it gives you nine full days off to recover, give your pitchers rest, kind of a reset button for us almost”. 

Griffin also spoke to how SEC competition has prepared them for what lies ahead. 

“For ten weeks we’ve faced some of the best teams in the country, on the road to LSU, on the road to Arkansas…”, Merritt said. “Respect to Southern Miss and I’m sure that atmosphere is going to be great but I feel like we are very well prepared for the places we are going because of the places we’ve been”. 

Head coach Tony Vitello also spoke highly of Southern Mississippi, calling the team “well-rounded.” 

“Coach Barry does a good job of covering that up and that is why he is who he is,” Vitello said. 

The team has surely taken a journey this year, accompanied with their fair share of adversity. However, a spot in the College World Series could change everything. 

“Whatever competitive edge you are looking for, it’s got to be based off of what your team has become throughout the year”, Vitello said. “Maybe the best path from A to B isn’t a straight line”. 

First pitch of game one of the best two out of three series will be at 3:00 PM ET on Saturday, June 10.