For the first time since 2005, Tennessee baseball has made the NCAA Tournament.
The NCAA announced the 64-team field for the College Baseball NCAA Tournament on Monday, and for the first time in over a decade, the Vols were one of the teams that earned a berth. Six SEC teams made it into the tournament as host teams, meaning they earned one of the top 16 overall seeds in the NCAA Tournament.
As a 2-seed in the Chapel Hill Regional, the Vols will head to North Carolina along with 3-seed Liberty and 4-seed UNC-Wilmington. The North Carolina Tarheels are hosting. Tennessee will face Liberty on Friday to begin its run in the tournament. The Vols and Flames will play at 7 PM Eastern, and the game will be streamed live on WatchESPN.com or the ESPN app.
Should the Vols win the Chapel Hill Regional, they would advance to the Super Regionals. Super Regionals will be held the following weekend from Friday, June 7th to Monday, June 10th.
Tennessee’s first round opponent, Liberty, went 42-19 on the year and won the Atlantic Sun Tournament title. The Vols and Flames faced off in the regular season already, with Tennessee winning 7-1 on February 26th in Knoxville.
The host team, North Carolina, went 42-17 overall on the season and just won the ACC Tournament, defeating Georgia Tech 10-2 on Sunday. UNC-Wilmington also won their conference tournament, defeating Elon 6-5 in extra innings to take home the Colonial Athletic Association Tournament title.
This season, Tennessee’s 38 total wins and 14 conference victories were the most for the program since 2005, which was also the last time the team was in the NCAA Tournament. During that ’05 season, the Vols advanced to the Men’s College World Series for just the fourth time ever.
The Vols went 3-1 to finish the regular season, wrapping up with a critical series win over No. 15 Ole Miss. As a result, Tennessee finished the regular season third in the SEC East, marking the highest finish in the division since 2005.
Making it to Hoover for the first time since 2016, the Vols lost to 8-seed Auburn, 5-3, as a 9-seed in the opening round of the tournament. Tennessee still hasn’t won a game in the SEC Tournament since 2007.
Outside of conference play, UT was very impressive in non-conference games. Tennessee went 24-3 against teams outside of the SEC and were 13-1 in midweek games, outscoring opponents by a margin of 112-36. The Vols have also tied a program record this season by pitching 10 different shutouts on the year. The 1994 squad also pitched 10 shutouts in a season.
The last time Tennessee made the NCAA Tournament in 2005, they made it to the Men’s College World Series. The Vols were the No. 1 seed in the Knoxville regional and beat Austin Peay, Winthrop, and Wichita State to advance to the Super Regionals. There, Tennessee took down Georgia Tech to make it to the Men’s College World Series.
Tennessee lost to Florida 6-4 in the first round of the CWS, then they fell 4-2 to Arizona State in the loser’s bracket, ending their run.