KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (WATE) — The No. 4 Tennessee Volunteers (per D1Baseball) have three players pick up All-SEC honors following the end of the regular season.
- Third baseman Jake Rucker: First Team All-SEC
- Shortstop Liam Spence: First Team All-SEC, SEC All-Defensive Team
- Pitcher Blade Tidwell – Freshman All-SEC Team
The baseball Vols finished the regular season 42-14 and a 20-10 record in conference play. For the first time since 1997, the Vols won the SEC East Division.
Rucker leads the SEC with 16 doubles and is tied for third with a team and career-high 76 hits. Of those 76 hits, 41 came during conference play, which was tied for sixth in the SEC. A native of Greenbrier, Tennessee, Rucker was second on the team with a .342 batting average and 50 RBIs.
Spence was one of the top hitters in the conference, leading the league in on-base percentage (.493) and walks (32) in conference-only games. He also batted .342 in league play and was tied for third in runs scored with 29. Spence reached base in all but two conference games.
Spence also flashed the glove defensively for the Vols. The Geelong, Australia, native was also named to the SEC All-Defensive team after ranking second on the team with 93 assists and posting a .971 fielding percentage after committing just four errors all year.
Tidwell became the first UT player to be named to the Freshman All-SEC team since Andre Lipcius in 2017.The right hander posted a 7-3 record and had the best ERA (3.74) among Tennessee’s starting pitchers.
Tidwell’s seven victories and 77 innings pitched both ranked first among freshman pitchers in the league. His seven wins are also tied for the fourth most by a freshman in program history while his 72 strikeouts are the fifth most in a single season by a Vols’ freshman.