KNOXVILLE, Tenn. — In a season where the Tennessee Volunteers starting pitching has seen mixed results, sophomore Drew Beam has been the steady force for a team scuffling in the Southeastern Conference.
Beam, a potential first-round pick in the 2024 MLB draft, came to Tennessee as a freshman looking to find his role in a young rotation. The right-handed pitcher solidified a weekend spot for the Vols, posting an 8-1 record to the tune of a 2.72 ERA in 2022. Beam was an integral piece to a historic season for Tennessee a year ago.
Fast forward to this spring, Tennessee is searching for some improvement from its weekend rotation. The Vols have posted five wins in 12 SEC games after four weeks of conference play. Burns and Dollander have combined for 37 earned runs in 38 1/3 innings in SEC play. Beam has tossed 18 1/3 innings in that same span, allowing five earned runs while striking out 19 batters to just four walks.
According to Beam, his consistent approach to the mound has resulted in effective production.
“Same as every game,” Beam said about his mindset. “Just throw alot of strikes and let my defense work. And get early, weak contact as much as I can.”
The sophomore led Tennessee to its fifth conference victory on Saturday, salvaging a series against the Florida Gators. The Vols were outscored 15-4 by Florida in the first two contests of the weekend. Beam helped the Vols to a 14-2 victory in Game 3, stabilizing a Florida offense posting a 1.016 OPS.
Beam worked seven innings on Saturday, striking out 10 batters and surrendering two runs. It was the sophomore’s longest outing this season. Coming into the weekend, Beam had yet to get out of the fourth inning in his previous three SEC starts.
The right-hander is 4-1 after 39 1/3 innings this season. Beam leads the team with a 2.52 ERA and is tied with Dollander in posting the club’s best WHIP among qualified innings per game.
After Tennessee’s rivalry win, head coach Tony Vitello echoed Beam’s sentiment and cited the starter’s approach as a key to his team’s response.
“To me, I’m always a fan of (Beam’s) composure,” Vitello said. “And he throws strikes. He had a little bit of that attitude that he showed last year when we had alot of series at 1-1 going into Game 3.”
The Volunteers are 22-10 this season. They host Eastern Kentucky on Tuesday night before traveling to Arkansas to face the Razorbacks in a weekend series. Tennessee has a 2-7 road record this season.