PREVIEW: Vols to Host LSU in Super Regional This Weekend

The #3 Tennessee Volunteers will be hosting the LSU Tigers this weekend in what is set to be the most exciting series that Lindsey Nelson Stadium has possibly ever seen. With the winner of this 3-game series advancing to Omaha, Nebraska to compete in the College World Series, rest assured that a sea of orange will encapsulate Lindsey Nelson Stadium with all the gaps filled with fans.

The last time these two teams faced each other in March, attendance was barely north of 3,500 for three games, whereas this weekend fans are expected to be north of 12,000. With the Vols coming off a regional tournament in dominating fashion and LSU fighting to win four straight elimination games to advance, Knoxville is going to be absolutely exhilarating this weekend.

The last time LSU made the trip to Knoxville, the Vols swept the series for the second time in program history. In the last two games of the series, the Vols had two walk-off wins with the first coming from a Drew Gilbert homerun and the second coming from a single by Luc Lipcius in the series finale. While LSU remembers the series sweep, it’s not just from the walk-off hits, but rather the atmosphere in Lindsey Nelson Stadium. Tigers’ coach Paul Mainieri had harsh words about his time in Knoxville, claiming that it was an “extremely hostile environment” and that Vols fans were “nasty fans.”

With Tennessee having arguably the toughest regional tournament, the Vols came out on top 3-0 with a win against Wright State and two against Liberty. The Vols’ win against Wright State came when Drew Gilbert hit a walk-off grand slam in the bottom of the 9th inning. In the Vols/Raiders matchup, both teams had a combined 22 hits with nine hits being homeruns.

In the Vols’ second game against Liberty, Tennessee won 9-3 and set a single-game program record for an NCAA Tournament game with five homers. The Vols advanced to the super regionals with another win over Liberty, largely thanks to dominant pitching by Will Heflin and Sean Hunley. In this second matchup against Liberty, Drew Gilbert tied a team record when he hit another homerun in his third consecutive game, proving he deserved the honor of Knoxville Regional Most Outstanding Player.

On the other side of the country in Eugene, Oregon, LSU had a very stressful regional after losing its opener to Gonzaga. The Tigers then won four straight games against Central Connecticut State, Gonzaga, and two straight against #14 Oregon. The Tigers strong finish in Eugene could have either been the will to win or could have been thanks to that “Mainieri Magic” that Tiger fans are all too familiar with.  

The atmosphere in Knoxville will most definitely be more raucous than before, so the Tigers better get ready. The fans will be there, the orange will be there, and Rocky Top will surely be blasting through the stadium. The Vols have been red hot offensively and have had strong help on the mound, so the eyes are looking forward to more hits and strikeouts by the Vols. With the lowest ERA in the SEC of 3.42, the Vols are looking good going into the weekend.  

The schedule for this weekend’s series can be found below:

Game 1: Saturday, 7 PM ET, ESPN2.

Game 2: 12 PM or 3 PM ET on Sunday, ESPN2/ESPNU.

Game 3 (if there is one): 4 PM or 7 PM ET, ESPN2/ESPNU.

For updates and news regarding the series and the College World Series, be sure to follow Southern Slams Baseball on Twitter at @SouthernSlams and Southern Slams Knoxville at @SSBKnoxville.

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