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Baseball Series Preview: vs. The Knoxville Buttchuggers

The Diamond Dores travel to the School to the East for vengeance, wigs. We will be without Hunter Owen; they will be without souls.

Wod Fir?

Week Ten (4/21-4/23) vs. The Knoxville Buttchuggers

Friday @ 5:00pm CT on SEC Network

Saturday @ 11:00am CT on ESPN2

Sunday @ 12:00pm CT on ESPN2

‘23 Record: 23-14 (5-10 SEC).

When you Google “Tennessee Baseball Schedule,” it brings up the 2022 schedule. You have to specifically include “2023” in your search to get the right one. This has been symbolic of those two baseball seasons in Chuggerville.

Last year, they mullet-luged their way through the SEC, threatening the 2013 Vanderbilt team’s SEC record through April. They didn’t get it, of course, but you wouldn’t know that from listening to their subhuman chud fanbase spout off endlessly about it. This year... (switches up to my Sam Elliott voice) well, sometimes the mullet luges you.

Tony “The Calf” Vitello’s squad of poached transfers from across the country has a top notch pitching staff and somehow are still playing .333 ball. They opened their season with a loss to Arizona, then fell in the Grand Canyon, causing Bryce Drew to clap. When conference play started, they began with the SEC-Big XII Challenge and got immediately swept by Missourah (spits), which both was and is objectively hilarious. They then evened up their SEC-Big XII Challenge record by sweeping aTm. Once they returned to conference play, the Chuggers took 1 of 3 from LSU (which, honestly, is fine), then did the same against The Jorts (which, again, honestly is fine, unless you fancy yourself a top of the conference type team like they thought coming into the year... which is why this is all so funny). They were then swept by Arky in Arky, and none of the games were particularly close. For the Chuggers of the first 20 years of this century, that’s all probably par for the course. For the Chuggers of the last couple of years, well, you have to imagine those Franzia Funnelers are none too pleased.

They’re down, but not out. This weekend, the Diamond Dores have the chance to finish them.

Player to Watch: #25 So. 1B Blake “Do You Want to go to War, Balakay?” Burke (.324/.400/.669 with 4 2B, 2 3B, 13 HR, and 32 RBI). The sophomore Sports and Recreation major may well have a future as a Tom Haverford style small town government employee, but for now, he’s the best hitter on a Chugger lineup that is clearly missing last year’s stars, Drew Gilbert and Jordan Beck. Good news is this masher is a lefty, and we’ll have at least two starters throwing from the South side.

Anchor of Gold Tiger Beat Hottest Pitcher: #11 Jr. RHP Chase “Baby Doll” Dollander (4-4; 4.18 ERA). I know those numbers don’t look fearsome, but Baby Doll Dollander was in serious consideration to be the #1 overall pick in this year’s MLB Draft coming into the season. The talent is there (I mean, he still has a 13.5 K/9), but he has lacked consistency. He can throw heat with the best of them, but as you know, The Diamond Dores are fine with heat... it’s the slow, slower, and slowest arsenal of a crafty lefty that has always given us fits. Tony “The Calf” Vitello is trying to steal a win by starting Dollander on Saturday against “TBD” (but presumably Bryce Cunningham), as Hunter Owen is likely out another week. Cowardice or “strategery?” You make the call.

On the Mound

Friday @ 5:00pm CT on SEC Network

#20 Vanderbilt So. LHP Carter “Rev. Holton Heat” Holton (4-0; 3.46 ERA)

vs. #29 Chuggers Jr. RHP Andrew “The Wizard of Waverly Central HS” Lindsey (0-2; 2.49 ERA, in only his 2nd start of the year)

Saturday @ 11:00am CT on ESPN2

¯\_(ツ)_/¯, as it looks like Hunter “Mr. Manager” will continue to be shelved this week with fatigue. If so, I’d expect us to give the ball to #97 Vanderbilt So. RHP Bryce “Big Richie” Cunningham (1-1; 3.86 ERA).

vs. #11 Chuggers Jr. RHP Chase “Baby Doll” Dollander (4-4; 4.18 ERA).

Sunday @ 12:00pm CT on ESPN2

#95 Vanderbilt So. LHP Devin “The Future” Futrell (6-1; 2.35 ERA)

vs. #32 Chuggers So. RHP Drew “Reinforced Concrete” Beam (4-2; 3.73 ERA)

The Lineup

See you in the comments.