Tennessee outfielder Drew Gilbert and pitching coach Frank Anderson were ejected from the Knoxville Super Regional opening loss against Notre Dame.
With the Vols trailing, 8-2, in the fifth inning an Alex Rao 1-0 pitch appeared to miss low and inside. Home plate umpire Kellen Levy called the pitch a strike and Gilbert emphatically argued with the call immediately following and while walking out of the batter’s box.
Levy ejected Gilbert sparking an outburst from Tennessee head coach Tony Vitello and pitching coach Frank Anderson.
Vitello was not ejected while Anderson — who shared words with Levy an inning prior while walking out for a mound visit — got the hook.
“I don’t (want) to misquote the kid, but obviously he turned his back and said something it being terrible or not a good call or something to that effect,” Tennessee head coach Tony Vitello said. “When he tossed him, I was kind of confused who it was that got ejected. All that got cleared up. You can’t take it back.”
“Certainly, pretty well-documented that the kid likes to win and plays with a lot of passion. At times, it is hard to control him. I joked at Georgia Southern last year to the umpire that I don’t have control over him. I can’t be on the field with him. I wish I could. I would kill to play with that kid. He let it spill over a little bit there. That is at their discretion what is and what isn’t. I sure enjoy competing with him and would like to do it again. Can’t take it back.”
NCAA rules suspend Gilbert for game two of the series against the Fighting Irish on Saturday. NCAA rules suspend Anderson for three games since he was ejected in the Vols’ game two win over Alabama in April.
Jared Dickey replaced Gilbert following his ejection as Seth Stephenson moved to center field and Dickey played left field. It was the first time Dickey played in the field since returning from his foot injury. While Dickey is the best bat Tennessee can add to its lineup, his defense will be limited compared to other options.
“You have a different guy in the four hole,” Vitello said of Gilbert’s absence. “I don’t know necessarily who it would be. We have had other guys in that spot. Drew went through a phase in the year with a little of hamstring stuff. We have mixed guys in and out of the lineup early in the year. We will see. The guy we put in for him is a guy just like Drew. If I am going down, I want to go down with that guy.”
Game two of the weekend series is set for 2 p.m. ET Saturday. ESPN is broadcasting the game.