After a slow 4-7 start, the Vols have been on tear lately. With three wins over Alcorn State and two over Western Kentucky, the Vols have won five straight while outscoring their opponents 50-14 during that span.
With SEC play opening up this weekend, the Vols will look to stay hot as they travel to Alabama.
Senior Zach Godley has been a force at the top of the rotation for the Vols, shutting out Alcorn State over seven innings last weekend while recording eight strikeouts. The Vols' Friday night starter this season has been lights-out lately, giving up only one earned run in his last 15.1 innings pitched.
While the Vols started slow and have turned it around lately, the opposite is true of Alabama.
The Crimson Tide started of the season with six straight wins, but have been a lowly 3-8 since. After being swept by No. 5 Louisville last weekend, they ended their five-game losing streak with a win over Memphis on Wednesday by score of 4-2.
Hitting has been the Achilles heel of this team, with their leading hitter, Brett Booth, hitting only .296. The senior also leads the team in runs (16), slugging percentage (.426) and walks (14).
However, pitching is their strong point. Reliever Keaton Haack leads the team with a 1.15 ERA. The freshman has 13 strikeouts in only 15.2 innings pitched on the season.
Sophomore starter Jon Keller leads the team in strikeouts with 31, and also holds a solid 3.00 ERA.
With the SEC being loaded this year with six teams in the top 15, the Vols need to grab a couple wins in this series, as they may not be so easy to come by later in the season.
The Vols have a combined total of 15 games against No. 2 Vanderbilt, No. 5 South Carolina, No. 6 Ole Miss, No. 10 Kentucky, and No. 15 Arkansas.
This is a huge series for both teams. After struggling lately, Alabama will try to get its season back on track while the youthful Vols will look to pick up a series win and build confidence for the rest of the season.