Vitello, Vols dominate All-SEC awards

It stands to reason that the team dominating the SEC this season would be the team dominating the SEC awards, as well.

Two Tennessee players along with coach Tony Vitello won individual awards Monday, when the coaches’ All-SEC awards were announced, and six players were named to the All-SEC team.

Eight Tennessee players were named Sunday to the USA TODAY All-SEC team, but just six made the cut for the coaches’ team.

Sophomore right hander Chase Dollander was named SEC Pitcher of the Year by the coaches, and right-hander Drew Beam was named Freshman of the Year. Vitello was named Coach of the Year.

Dollander, senior third baseman Trey Lipscomb and junior outfielder were named to the All-SEC first-team, while Beam and right-hander Chase Burns were named to the All-SEC second-team.

Beam, Burns and first baseman Blake Burke were named to the All-Freshman Team, and Gilbert was named to the SEC All-Defensive Team.

It was a big haul for the Vols on the coaches’ team, but Sunday’s USA TODAY All-SEC haul was even bigger.

USA TODAY named Lipscomb the SEC Player of the Year, Dollander the SEC Pitcher of the Year, Burns the SEC Freshman of the Year and Vitello the SEC Coach of the Year.

The USA TODAY team also listed eight Vols — twice as many as any other team in the league.

USA Today named Lipscomb, Gilbert, Dollander and Chase Burns to the first-team, and it named Beam, sophomore second baseman Jorel Ortegacatcher Evan Russell and junior relief pitcher Ben Joyce to the All-SEC second-team.

While Lipscomb was named SEC Player of the Year by USA TODAY, he didn’t get the nod on the coaches’ team. The coaches named Auburn’s Sonny DiChiara and LSU’s Dylan Crews Co-SEC Players of the Year.

Tennessee on Saturday went directly from Starkville to Hoover to start preparing for the SEC Tournament. The Vols took a short bus ride east to Birmingham to start preparing for the league’s annual showcase event at the Hoover Met. The Vols will open play Wednesday against Vanderbilt or Florida at 5:30 pm Eastern in a game that will be broadcast by SEC Network.

Vandy and Florida play at 5:30 pm Eastern on Tuesday. The loser will be eliminated from the tournament, and the winner will advance into the double-elimination portion of the tournament and a shot to take down the top-ranked Vols.

Here’s a list of the Vols named to both the coaches’ and USA TODAY All-SEC teams.

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