Randy Smith: Vols A Win Away From Championship Series

  • Monday, June 17, 2024
  • Randy Smith
Randy Smith
Randy Smith
I find it hard to believe the Tennessee Volunteers scored a 6-1 win over North Carolina on Sunday evening, with no runs batted in from Christian Moore nor Blake Burke. Kavares Tears and Reese Chapman provided the fireworks which proves that Tennessee has more than just a couple of contributors. Tears and Chapman each homered while the Vols' pitching staff, led by right- hander Drew Beam shut down the Tar Heels. The win leaves Tennessee just one win away from the CWS Championship Finals as the Vols are now 58-12 on the year.

Tennessee is trying to become the first top-seed since Miami in 1999 to actually win the World Series and they are only a step away from playing in the best two out of three championship series.
The Volunteers will face the winner of the elimination game between North Carolina and Florida State on Wednesday. Those two teams play on Tuesday.

In the Vols' opening round 12-11 come from behind win over Florida State last Friday, Coach Tony Vitello went on a rant in the late innings and when the Volunteers came to bat in the ninth inning....down by three runs, he met his team as they came off the field with a determined look in his eyes. He wouldn't swing a bat at a single pitch but his determination obviously rubbed off because his team responded with four runs and walked off a 12-11 victory. Sunday night's 6-1 win over the Tar Heels was much easier.

The popularity of college baseball is at an all-time high. TV ratings are way up and so is game attendance. The Vols' quick ascension to the top of the college baseball world has been amazing. Coach Vitello has done it since he took over as head coach in 2017 and his success has completely overhauled Lindsay Nelson Stadium. By the time the 2025 season gets underway, the home of the BaseVols will have undergone millions upon millions of dollars in expansion and improvements in time for 2025. Seating will be almost 8,000 with new entrances and new seating with bar services down the right field line. It may not be the biggest stadium in the country but there will no venue any nicer when everything is done.

This most unusual CWS event featured four teams from the SEC and four from the ACC. Other perennial powers like Texas, Arizona, and others were sent packing in the early rounds of the NCAA Playoffs. Even though there is the jinx of the top-seeded team always failing to win the big trophy, the Vols were still the betting favorites to win it all. Tennessee is 6-1 in the tournament thus far with the only loss coming to Evansville in the Super Regionals. That look of determination was on Coach V's face then too and it's on the faces of his players right now.
Don't bet against them!

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Randy Smith can be reached at rsmithsports@epbfi.com
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