KNOXVILLE,TN -(UTSports.com) Thanks to a 7-5 victory over No. 13 Florida on the final day of the regular season, the Tennessee baseball team will make its first appearance in the postseason since 2007. The Volunteers are the 11-seed in the SEC Tournament and will face sixth-seeded Vanderbilt in the event's first game at 9:30 a.m. CT/10:30 a.m. ET.
Tuesday's matchup against the Commodores will be the fourth this season as the Vols won two of three games in Knoxville earlier this year. It is the 10th all-time showdown between the two squads in the SEC Tournament with UT holding a 6-3 record in the previous nine contests. Tennessee's last postseason win was against Vanderbilt when the Big Orange opened the 2007 SEC Tournament with a 6-3 victory.
During Friday's quarterfinal matchups in Hoover, former Vol letterman and Tennessee Baseball Hall of Famer Phil Garner will be recognized as one of this year's SEC Baseball Legends.
Last week, the Volunteers opened a four-game homestand to close out the regular season with the longest game in program history, outlasting Morehead State, 14-13, in 12 innings in a game that lasted four hours and 57 minutes. UT had a quick turnaround from there, hosting No. 13 Florida Thursday through Saturday.
The series opener against the Gators also went to extra innings, marking Tennessee's school record fourth consecutive extra-inning affair including the final two games of last weekend's series at Mississippi State, with the Vols coming up short, 6-5, in 11 innings. Another close contest followed on Friday as UF edged the Vols, 4-2, to seal the overall SEC title.
Knowing that a win would secure their first postseason berth in seven years, the Vols overcame three deficits against Florida in the series finale and held off a late rally in the ninth to defeat the Gators, 7-5. Sophomore southpaw Andy Cox moved his record to 5-1 on the year with seven gutsy innings for the Vols, while fellow classmate Andrew Lee nailed down his fourth save with a scoreless ninth to send Tennessee to Hoover.
Senior Taylor Smart blasted two game-tying home runs in the series against UF and hit .438 (7-for-16) with a double and a team-high six RBIs on the week. Another senior, Scott Price, led the Vols in hitting over last week's four-game schedule with a .471 clip (8-for-17), including UT's first five-hit effort of the year against Morehead State on Tuesday. He is the first Vol with five hits in a game since he accomplished the feat in his debut with the Vols in last year's season opener at UNLV.