Vols yet to play as SEC baseball tournament remains a quagmire

Top-ranked Tennessee has won nearly 90% of its baseball games this season, but the Volunteers are no match for Mother Nature.

Rain continued to plague the Southeastern Conference tournament Wednesday in Hoover, Alabama, as Tuesday night's scheduled game between Auburn and Kentucky had to be kicked into Wednesday morning and then was delayed into Wednesday afternoon. The Vols entered the tournament expected to play Wednesday afternoon at 5:30 Eastern against the Ole Miss-Vanderbilt winner and woke up Wednesday scheduled to play Vandy on Wednesday night at 9, but they're now set to face the Commodores on Thursday afternoon around 2.

"You've got to keep alerting your guys not to spend energy when they don't need to spend energy," Tennessee coach Tony Vitello told the SEC Network. "Sometimes if you're in a rain delay, you've got to sit down and talk to your buddy or flip a ball back and forth or whatever goofy shenanigans go on. You can't be bouncing all over the place, because if you do that for an hour and the delay goes on for a few more hours, you're kind of out of gas.

"For us and for the other coaches as well, it's about relaxing when it's time to relax and hook it up when it's time to hook it up. In a tournament or an NCAA regional, you've got to be on guard, because crazy things can happen."

The Vols (49-7) swept Vanderbilt (36-19) in Nashville during the regular season and should not be lacking for motivation against their state rival, but more rain is in the forecast.

"This is the time of year for chaos, and if you don't like it, you can turn your stuff in," Vitello said. "No kid wants to turn his stuff in right now, and I dang sure don't want to as a coach."

Contact David Paschall at dpaschall@timesfreepress.com. Follow him on Twitter @DavidSPaschall.