Advertise with usContact UsRTI Team

Zander Sechrist’s Finest Moment Yet Sends Tennessee Baseball To Omaha

Photo By Kate Luffman/Tennessee Athletics

KNOXVILLE, Tenn. — Zander Sechrist waited as Simon Scherry’s bases loaded grounder rolled to Christian Moore at second base. Moore’s throw beat Scherry to first and what ensued was unadulterated emotion.

A two-handed fist bump that invoked memories of Tiger Woods on hole 16 at Augusta National. A roar towards an Evansville runner crossing home plate and a heave of his gum towards the dugout.

Sechrist rose to the occasion in the fourth inning jam and throughout the evening, sending Tennessee back to the College World Series in its 12-1 victory over Evansville.

“Sat there and watched him pitch in high school, [and] said that kid’s going to pitch in Omaha – just because the way he competed, the way the ball came out of his hand,” Tennessee head coach Tony Vitello said. “I will win or lose with that guy anytime on the field or off the field here.”

Sechrist didn’t let losing ever become a reality that Tennessee had to face on Sunday night and his competitiveness was on display the entire time.

The left-handed pitcher allowed one unearned run in the first inning and cruised from there. The only other trouble Evansville caused Sechrist came when they loaded the bases with two-outs in the fourth inning.

During the fourth inning, he took a line drive off the leg for the third straight week. This time he promptly waved trainer Jeff Wood away before he could meet him on the mound before getting out of the jam.

“It was unbelievable,” starting designated hitter Dalton Bargo said of Sechrist. “He knows how to pitch. He knows what he’s good at and takes advantage of it. That’s what makes him so good and he’s a competitor and just wants to win at all times.”

More From RTI: Tony Vitello’s Complete Opening Statement Following The Vols’ Win Over Evansville

The adversity started before the game for Sechrist. He’s admitted that routines are very important to his success and they were thrown off when weather pushed first pitch back an hour less than 90 minutes before the game.

How did Sechrist spend the hour killing time before starting his warmup?

“Went on a little Clash of Clans and then I did a little Subway Surfers,” Sechrist said of phone games.

The goofy, easygoing Sechrist was on display when the high intensity moments on the mound were over. He mimicked CBS NFL announcer Tony Romo’s “I don’t know, Jim!” and said the game “felt like a packed out Tuesday to be honest because I’ve pitched so many Tuesday.”

Sechrist said his teammates wondered whether or not he understood the magnitude of the moment, but it mattered little whether he did or didn’t. The result was arguably the best starting pitching performance, given the stage, from any Tennessee pitcher during Vitello’s tenure.

The veteran who spent his first three seasons starting on Tuesday allowed six hits, didn’t walk or hit a batter and struck out six in 6.1 innings pitched. When his outing was done, he exited to a roaring applause and embraced his left-handed brother Kirby Connell, who his legacy is largely tied together with, before the rest of his teammates in the dugout.

“We’ve been through hell and back, thick-and-thin. I mean, that man will be at my wedding, my funeral,” Sechrist said.

These outings from Sechrist are becoming more-and-more common. After pitching six-plus innings just once in his first 12 starts this season, Sechrist has done it in three of his last four starts and has a 0.78 ERA over that stretch. He’s going to Omaha for the third time in his career and this time it’s largely due to his own dominance.

Similar Articles


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Tweet Us