Tennessee’s current collection of baseball players have never been to the NCAA Tournament while wearing the orange and white. In fact, Tennessee baseball as a program hadn’t earned a berth into the NCAA Tournament in 14 years, last doing so in 2005.
On Monday, that drought came to an end.
During the NCAA Tournament Selection Show on Monday afternoon, Tennessee was announced as the two-seed in the Chapel Hill Regional of the 2019 NCAA Tournament. The Vols will face three-seed Liberty in the first round and are in the same Regional as one-seed North Carolina and four-seed UNC-Wilmington.
For the Vols, the bid into the NCAA Tournament was a culmination of a lot of hard work and a surprising regular season.
Tennessee put together a shockingly strong season under head coach Tony Vitello in just his second year at the helm. The Vols have gone 38-19 on the season and went 14-16 in SEC play, finishing third in the SEC East. UT’s 38 wins and 14 conference victories were the most in a single season since the 2005 squad that made it to the Men’s College World Series. Their third place finish in the East was the program’s best finish in the division since the 2005 squad placed second.
When Tennessee’s bid was announced in the field of 64 teams, UT’s players didn’t hold back their emotions.
The official Tennessee baseball Twitter account tweeted out a video of the team gathered to watch the selection show. You can feel the anticipation building as the team watches the programs revealed in the Chapel Hill region, and once the Vols’ image flashed up on the screen, the players all exclaimed and began a loud celebration.
You can watch the full video here:
VOLS ARE IN BABY! pic.twitter.com/GCsz9Jp5DX
— Tennessee Baseball (@Vol_Baseball) May 27, 2019
Tennessee will take on Liberty (42-19) in the first round of the Chapel Hill Regional on Friday, May 31st at 7:00 PM Eastern. The game will be streamed live on ESPN3, WatchESPN.com, and on the Watch ESPN app.
The Vols and Flames have already played once this season. Tennessee hosted Liberty on February 26th in Knoxville, and the Vols won 7-1. Infielder Andre Lipcius smacked a grand slam in the bottom of the fifth inning, and the Vols as a team held Liberty to just one run and three hits.
If Tennessee beats Liberty on Friday, they will take on the winner of the North Carolina vs. UNC-Wilmington game on Saturday, June 1st at approximately 4:00 PM Eastern. If the Vols lose to Liberty, they’ll face the loser of the Tarheels and Seahawks on Saturday at 11:00 AM Eastern.