Tennessee Pitcher Named National Freshman Of The Year

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Tennessee pitcher Chase Burns earned national Freshman of the Year honors from D1Baseball Friday afternoon.

A blue-chip recruit from middle Tennessee’s Beech High School, Burns fell out of the first two rounds of the 2021 MLB Draft before announcing his attentions to stick with his pledge to Tennessee and not forgo college for professional baseball.

The move paid dividends for both Burns and the Vols in the right-handed pitcher’s first season. Burns was Tennessee’s Friday night starter to begin this season and stuck in that role for most of the season. The 6-foot-4, 205-pound flamethrower started his career with a bang, striking out five in five scoreless innings against Georgia Southern to start his career.

Burns’ breakout performance came two weeks later when he struck out 10 while allowing one earned run in five inning against then-No. 1 Texas.

“He doesn’t act like a freshman,” Tennessee head coach Tony Vitello said of Burns early in the season. “Well, he does when he’s off the field. He doesn’t stop smiling and acts like he’s six years old, actually. Like a lot of great players I’ve coached who are almost two different people in and out of uniform. When he’s on the field he’s very serious about competing, but more evident is— it’s important to him to be great. He wants to be great. … He obviously has advanced stuff but there’s a lot of people across the country that don’t have advanced intangibles and character to go with the advanced stuff.”

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Burns posted an 8-2 record and 2.91 ERA while striking 103 in 81.1 innings pitched during his freshman season.

After a slow stretch in the middle of the season, Burns found his groove to close the season.

While Burns was the national Freshman of the Year, Tennessee right-handed pitcher Drew Beam was the SEC Freshman of the Year. Beam posted an 8-1 record and 2.72 ERA in his freshman season.

Burns’ earned an abundance of postseason honors in his freshman season including Second Team All-SEC honors, SEC All-Freshman Team honors and NCBWA First Team All-American honors.

Ryan Schumpert is a senior at the University of Tennessee-Knoxville who has covered University of Tennessee athletics since the moment he stepped on campus. He just completed a three-year stint with the Daily Beacon, the last two of which as the Sports Editor. Ryan also spent last three years at Volquest providing strong Tennessee baseball coverage of Tony Vitello's resurgent program. While the bulk of Ryan's responsibilities involved beat coverage and writing, he also recorded podcasts for both the Beacon and Volquest. Did we leave out the part about Ryan interning for the Smokies? Ryan's work ethic, versatility, and strong writing skills are but three of the reasons why Vol Nation will be hearing from Ryan for years to come.