What Tennessee Players Said After Vols Advanced To College World Series

What Tennessee Players Said After Vols Advanced To College World Series

Photo By Ian Cox/Tennessee Athletics

Tennessee baseball knocked off Southern Miss 5-0 Monday night to advance to the program’s sixth ever College World Series.

Starting pitcher Drew Beam was fantastic for Tennessee in the win, tossing six shutout innings while allowing seven hits and striking out seven batters.

Alabama transfer Zane Denton provided the big swing for Tennessee’s offense with a three-run fifth inning home run which opened the game up.

Here’s everything the duo said following the win.

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Drew Beam

On how hard it was for him to not pitch in the super regional last year and what tonight meant for him

“Yeah, obviously, I want the ball in my hands, but I had some struggles at the end of the last year. I didn’t take care of my body the way I needed to. We emphasized that this year. Q (strength coach Quentin Eberhardt) helped me out with that a lot. So, this year when I had the ball in my hand and had the chance to throw, I was going to take it and I gave my all.”

On what was working well tonight and the challenge of the rain delay

“What worked well for me tonight: curveball spinning good, had the changeup, had the command of a few pitches early. We worked counts differently, worked guys backwards. Coach A(nderson) had a great pitching plan going into the game so we knew how to attack all the hitters, figured out the first two days. Getting to watch that helps out a lot. Yeah, we just had a good game plan and then rain delays didn’t really affect. Was just ready to get the ball in my hands so sat around and waited for that call, waited for the time we were going to start and was excited when we got a chance to go.”

Tony Vitello: “Is that the first time you’ve ever thrown under the lights?”

Beam: “First time this season. Last year, yeah, first real night game. SEC Tournament against Kentucky I guess.”

Tony Vitello to media: “Sorry. Step Brothers. We interview you.”

On how challenging of a weekend it was with all of the delays

“Yeah, we didn’t know when we were going to play. Most of us were sitting up there watching that Stanford and Texas game, knowing at the end of that, we’d figure out when we were going to play, so, we didn’t really have an answer until late, but we were just excited. Most of us were itching to get back out there. Wish we could have played again last night, but it’s not ideal. Everybody was just ready to get out here and play another game. That’s just how the vibes were and that’s how we felt.”

On Tony Vitello’s coaching this season

“He is more than a coach for us. He is a friend to us. He is an adult figure to us. He is always there for us, always having fun with us. You can talk to him about anything. He creates a good atmosphere to be in. That is what guys love to come to Tennessee and play in. So just having him around the field and having him cutting it up with us, it makes it fun to play. There is a reason we all play baseball. We had fun playing it when we were little. We just love to play it. Playing for a coach who loves it just as much as you do makes it that much more enjoyable.”

Zane Denton

On how challenging of a weekend it was with all of the delays

“It was definitely pretty challenging, but it kind of goes with the theme of our whole team this year. We want that adversity. We feel like a lot of things have gone against us all year, but just battling through it together and getting better each day and we’ll find ourselves where we want to be at the end of the season.”

On Tony Vitello’s coaching this season

 “He has been awesome. He is one of the reasons I came here. I wanted to play for him after playing against him last year and talking to a bunch of the guys about how he teaches us life lessons along with the baseball. But he also gives us a lot of freedom to take ownership of our team and do what we want to.”

On his fifth inning home run

“So that at-bat, I was just trying to get a good pitch to hit like any at-bat. I worked a 2-0 count and had a pretty good feeling I was going to get a heater. Just tried to cheat to it a little bit. Luckily, I got it and got it in the air and it went far enough.”

On having five hits and four home runs in the NCAA Tournament

“No, I can’t really remember a stretch like that. I’d like to mix in a couple hits, but it is working right now.”

Drew Beam: “We’ll take it.”

Author: Ethan Moore