SEC Scope: Tennessee vs Missouri

KNOXVILLE, Tenn. — The battle for the Southeastern Conference division titles is heating up. The Tennessee Volunteers are closing the gap in the Eastern half of the SEC and steadily pacing themselves for a top spot for the NCAA tournament seeding. This weekend, the Vols swept the Missouri Tigers to earn their 15th conference game.

Here’s a look at the notables from the SEC series in Knoxville.

Christian Moore continued his surge in 2024 by going 3-for-4 with a home run in the opening game on Thursday night. Moore is the reigning National Player of the Week based on his performance at Kentucky. The UT second baseman launched four home runs and drove in eight runs. We have Moore as a potential top-50 pick in the upcoming MLB draft.

Billy Amick also made an impression in the opener. Tennessee’s third baseman went 3-for-5 with four RBIs. Amick flashed his power tool with two homers, ranging from one with a launch angle of 21 degrees and another with 43 lift. His line-drive exited with a velocity of 112 mph, per UT Athletics.

Missouri’s Ryan Magdic got his first SEC start for the Tigers in Game 1 after being a primary relief arm. Magdic entered the contest with a 14/1 K/BB rate through 9 2/3 innings pitched in the league, giving up just two runs. Tennessee scored five runs off the left-hander, including three homers.

A Friday Night SEC Pitcher’s Duel

Friday night saw a different complexion with the two SEC foes. The game was a pitching battle, with Drew Beam having the biggest edge in the tilt.

Beam tossed 7 1/3 innings with eight strikeouts and a walk. The Vols’ right-hander froze five batters with his fastball and cutter, which were his first strikeouts of the night. Beam struck out the side swinging in the seventh inning with his curveball. The breaker was excellent during the outing, as Beam ventured through some control issues with the pitch – hitting two batters through his 106-pitch performance. Beam feels like he’s finding his groove with the offering and his overall pitch mix.

“The past few years, it’s kind of had a varying shape as the game goes on and the season goes on,” Beam said. “I couldn’t really define a certain shape throughout a game, so it made it a little harder to control and to get guys out with. So, I’m really trying to define the shape this year. I’ve got it a little more on the top, so it’s easier and helps me spot the ball better. The biggest change is defining a real shape for it and not letting it vary throughout the game.” 

Beam picked up his sixth win on the season against the Tigers as Tennessee edged Missouri 3-2. It was his third SEC victory in 2024. Beam currently has a 57/13 K/BB rate through 63 innings. 

Logan Lunceford showed flashes for Missouri on the mound. The sophomore employed a curveball that could be a plus-pitch in the future, considering his control improves. His low-90s fastball missed bats and had a good movement profile. Lunceford lasted 92 pitches through five innings, striking out four and walking just two. This is an arm to watch for next year’s draft. There’s lots of potential for the right-hander.

A Similar Saturday

Saturday’s contest had a similar face to the night before. The Vols won another tight one, 3-2.

Tennessee freshman Dean Curley drove in two runs with a single in the first inning. That was the difference, as the Vols tamed the Tigers the rest of the way. Tennessee’s first runs on Friday and Saturday resulted from errors by Missouri.

Bryce Mayer and Carter Rustad combined for six strikeouts and two walks through nine innings while limiting the Volunteers to two hits with runners in scoring position (2-10).

Notables for the MLB Draft

Moore: As mentioned, Moore is performing at an optimal level this season. He’s solidified his stock for the upcoming MLB Draft. Despite being a primary infielder for his Volunteer career, Moore has the athleticism to play a corner outfield spot. Moore’s hit tool has seen gains over the past couple of seasons, considering his aggressive approach at the plate. The intangibles are strong as well. Moore is a Day 2 candidate with upside.

Amick: The Tennessee third baseman is playing the hot corner for the first time in his college career. He’s shown flashes there with his arm and glove. Amick has busted defensive narratives coming into the year. But it’s the consistent hard hits and power that will carry him into a draft slot this summer. We have him mocked in the first round in our MLB Draft Staff Mock 1.0.

Logan Quinton
Logan Quinton
Logan Quinton joined Baseball Prospect Journal in March 2023 as a College Baseball Writer focusing on the Tennessee Volunteers. Follow Quinton on Twitter @LDQsports.

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