The results of last weekend weren't exactly what the Tennessee Volunteers baseball team had in mind when they arrived in Tuscaloosa, Ala.
The team entered their first SEC series against the Alabama Crimson Tide on a five-game winning streak, but at the conclusion of the series that streak was gone and the team was left searching for answers.
"We have a lot of things to fix, from the top all the way down," head coach Dave Serrano said after Sunday's game.
Now the Vols (10-9, 1-2 SEC) find themselves back at home for another SEC weekend series against the Missouri Tigers (6-9, 1-2).
While on paper the Tigers seem to be a lesser opponent than the Crimson Tide, Serrano said that they are going to provide a tough matchup.
"Missouri doesn't come in with a great record but they have a good pitching staff," Serrano said. "Their pitching numbers are very good. To date, they haven't hit well as a team.
"They'll be tough, they took one from South Carolina this weekend. They are not coming in to back down to anybody so we are going to have to stand up to them and look them in the face and play our type of game."
After a performance that saw the Vols get outscored 33-9 against Alabama, there a lot of aspects of the game that need improving before this weekend's action.
"I think we just need to do the little things right," junior second baseman Taylor Smart said. "We need to pitch better, we need to play better defense, (we need to) hit better. I don't think there is one glaring thing that we need to do better, I think it's just all-around improvement of the game and focusing on the little things."
Pitching, hitting and defense are aspects of the game that can be fixed through repetitions in practice, but one piece of the puzzle missing is confidence.
Smart said that the team definitely had a loss of confidence following the series against the Tide, but believes that the team should be fine going into this week's games.
"It (the team's confidence) was definitely down on that bus ride back, that was tough to take," Smart said. "I do have high expectations for this team and even though we are young, we want to win every single game we play, so I do think that those losses were a little bit of a blow once we lost to Alabama and dropped the series, but baseball is not an easy game. We came back today and I felt like we had a strong practice so we need to take that into Western Carolina and Missouri."
Before the Vols take on Missouri on March 22-24, they will have to face the Western Carolina Catamounts on Wednesday at 5 p.m. All four games will be played at home at Lindsey Nelson Stadium.