Welcome to the 2022 SEC Baseball Tournament Blog, your online home for the big news, behind-the-scenes notes and quotes and special moments that make this annual event at the Hoover (Ala.) Met the best college baseball tournament in the nation. Check back for updates each day throughout the week.
Tim Corbin knows what the best team in the country looks like. He has led Vanderbilt to two national championships and established the Commodores as one of the premier programs in college baseball. In any discussion of all-time great baseball teams, he would qualify as an expert witness.
On Thursday, Corbin witnessed No. 1 Tennessee's 50th victory of the season, its fourth over Vanderbilt in four meetings, a thorough 10-1 thrashing. Afterward, he was asked to put the accomplishments to date of this 50-7 Tennessee team in perspective.
"That's a good question," he said. The bottom line of his answer: "Just one of the better teams that I've seen in the 20 years that I've been around, without question."
Corbin offered more detail on the first Tennessee team to win the SEC regular-season championship since 1995,
"They're very good in all areas," he said. "It's tough for me to sit here and think about all the teams that I've seen in this conference. But as far as they're concerned, they play with a tremendous amount of confidence, they're older, they don't hurt themselves and they can match up from a pitching standpoint in every area."
Five Tennessee pitchers limited Vanderbilt to five hits, the only extra-base hit a solo homer by Carter Young. On offense, eight different Vols had hits, with a pinch-hit home run by Blake Burke as a highlight. Burke's 11 home runs this season have come on only 73 at-bats.
On defense, Tennessee was spotless. Vanderbilt committed four errors.
"They're attacking from all areas," Corbin said. "I'm not saying just offensively. They're attacking on the mound, they're attacking defensively and they're attacking offensively. Just one of the better teams that I've seen in the 20 years that I've been around, without question. Tony (Vitello) has done a good job with them. Their whole staff has."
For the record, Vanderbilt's 2019 national title team set the SEC record with 59 victories. Tennessee is nine shy of that mark with plenty of postseason play to go.