Tennessee Baseball Coach Suspended 4 Games for Bumping Umpire

April 19, 2022 / Athletic LeaderBaseballCoaching
University of Tennessee head baseball coach Tony Vitello has been suspended for four games.

Vitello, who was ejected in the Volunteers’ 9-2 win over Alabama Saturday night, was given a four-game suspension by the NCAA after being thrown out by third base umpire Jeffrey Macias in the first inning after Tennessee pitcher Chase Dollander was hit in his pitching arm by a line drive.

tennesseeIt is Vitello’s second suspension of his five-year tenure as UT’s head coach. He was suspended in 2018.

He will be eligible to return on April 24 when the Vols face Florida.

Other things in Friday’s game set the scene for a testy Saturday affair, as well. Tennessee — a team that often infuriates opponents with its celebrations — didn’t like the way Alabama celebrated its win in the series-opener, and Vols junior pitcher Will Mabrey had choice words for the Tide in his postgame interview.

It didn’t take long for the spark to catch fire in Saturday’s game.

Tennessee sophomore starter Chase Dollander retired the side in order in the top of the first, but the final out came with a cost. A comeback rocket off the bat of Bama third baseman Zane Denton hit Dollander flush in the elbow. The ball bounced to senior first baseman Luc Lipcius, who stepped on the bag to retire the side, but Dollander stayed on the turf and was clearly in pain.

As Vols’ pitching coach Frank Anderson ran out to the field to check on Dollander, he was clearly incensed about something he saw or heard from Bama’s dugout. Anderson got hot, and he was quickly ejected by Macias.

Vitello joined the fray after Anderson got ejected, and he got ejected by Macias, as well. Unlike Anderson, though, Vitello bumped Macias after his ejection, which often leads to a suspension.

Anderson will serve a one-game suspension Sunday as the No. 1 Vols go for a series win over the Crimson Tide.

“Head coach Tony Vitello and assistant coach Frank Anderson will not be available to coach in today’s game vs. Alabama,” UT’s statement said. “We are still waiting on final information regarding potential additional suspensions stemming from Saturday night’s ejections.”

Tension had been brewing with Vitello and Macias long before this weekend. The umpire was behind home plate for a game against Texas in last year’s College World Series when then-Vols (now-Houston) assistant coach Ross Kivett was ejected.