KNOXVILLE — Chase Dollander wanted at least one more inning.

The sophomore right-hander admitted he would need to be built back up after returning from a 17-day absence against Alabama A&M on May 3, so when Tennessee pitching coach Frank Anderson told Dollander he was done after six innings, he offered no resistance even though he felt he could continue.

“I definitely felt like I had more in the tank, but it’s all up to the what the coaching staff wants, and that’s what we’re going to do,” Dollander said. “We can only do our part, and that’s all that they ask of us.”

Even though it ended earlier than he wanted, Dollander’s first start since suffering the bone bruise on his right elbow that put him out of action was stellar. He allowed one run on three hits while striking out six and tossed 56 of his 77 pitches for strikes to lead No. 1 Tennessee to a 5-2 victory over No. 22 Georgia on Thursday at Lindsey Nelson Stadium.

Dollander (7-0, 2.44 ERA) replaced freshman right-hander Chase Burns as the Vols’ series-opening starting pitcher as part of a reshuffling of the rotation that allows Tennessee (44-6, 21-4 SEC) to rest Burns and fellow freshman right-hander Drew Beam over the final two weekends before the SEC Tournament.

Burns relieved Dollander in the seventh and allowed one run on two hits and a hit batter over 1 2/3 innings.

Sophomore right-hander Blade Tidwell will start the second game of the series at 5:30 p.m. today.

“A lot of things went into the decision (to start Dollander),” Tennessee coach Tony Vitello said. “Anytime you come upon these Thursday games like we did last week, it’s going to kind of cause the potential to shake things up a bit.

“We got our two freshest guys starting. You saw how we approached the game. We started the guy we felt best to start, we brought in our best weapon out of the bullpen stuff-wise and then went to our closer (Redmond Walsh) immediately. It’s not as if we’re conceding anything at all. … This is the first weekend we’ve had four healthy guys and (in two weeks) it will take care of itself because we go to Hoover.”

The truth is Tennessee boasts four starters who are potential first-round picks, which is a good problem to have during the regular season and less of one come the postseason.

However, Dollander seems to be the best of the bunch at the moment, and that is after a gem against Georgia (32-17, 13-12) that could have lasted longer than it did.

“We’re all just trying to do our part and get wins for this team and make it as far as we can,” Dollander said. “That’s all the coaches ask us to do, and it’s all we can do.”

Trending Recipe Videos



Follow @Troy_Provost on Twitter for more from sports editor Troy Provost-Heron. He can be contacted at troy.provost-heron@thedailytimes.com.

Sports Writer

Troy takes a lead on high school sports coverage and is the beat writer for UT men's basketball for The Daily Times. He's also a regular contributor for The Daily Times on The Sports Page radio show.

Recommended for you


(0) comments

Welcome to the discussion.

Keep it Clean. Please avoid obscene, vulgar, lewd, racist or sexually-oriented language.
PLEASE TURN OFF YOUR CAPS LOCK.
Don't Threaten. Threats of harming another person will not be tolerated.
Be Truthful. Don't knowingly lie about anyone or anything.
Be Nice. No racism, sexism or any sort of -ism that is degrading to another person.
Be Proactive. Use the 'Report' link on each comment to let us know of abusive posts.
Share with Us. We'd love to hear eyewitness accounts, the history behind an article.