Photo By Andrew Ferguson/Tennessee Athletics
The SEC Coaches picked Tennessee baseball to win the SEC East in the 2023 season, the league office announced Thursday morning.
While Tennessee was picked to win the SEC East — receiving 12 of 14 first place votes — they didn’t receive a single vote to win the conference. The league’s coaches picked LSU (11 votes) to win the conference while Florida, Ole Miss and Texas A&M earned a vote each.
The preseason SEC ranking is Tennessee’s highest in Tony Vitello’s six seasons as head coach. Despite winning the SEC East in 2021, the conference’s coaches predicted the Vols to finish fourth a season ago.
Vitello and the Vols proved the rest of the league foolish by not only defending their division crown but running away with the SEC regular season championship, clinching with four games left to play.
Tennessee’s 25-5 SEC record was the best in program history and led to the Vols sitting atop the national rankings for much of the season.
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Tennessee didn’t have the postseason success it was looking for, however. Vitello’s fifth Tennessee team fell to Notre Dame in game three of the Knoxville Super Regional, failing to make a return trip to the College World Seies.
The Vols ranking second behind LSU is a common theme this offseason. Five of the six major preseason rankings have pegged Tennessee second nationally behind only LSU.
The complete SEC East preseason predictions are as follows: Tennessee (90), Florida (79), Vanderbilt(64), South Carolina (51), Georgia (48), Kentucky (34) and Missouri (19).
The complete SEC West preseason predictions are as follows: LSU (88), Texas A&M (69), Arkansas (68), Ole Miss (64), Alabama (34), Auburn (33) and Mississippi State (29).