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Don’t Forget Cannon Peebles At-Bat Amidst Tennessee Baseball’s Ninth Inning Rally

Photo via Tennessee Athletics

OMAHA, Neb. — The thought of a walk-off win bounced around in Tennessee coach Tony Vitello’s head before the game. Dylan Dreiling made it happen four-plus hours later when his fly ball dropped just shy of the warning track in left-center field to give Tennessee a 12-11 come from behind victory over Florida State.

All eight of Tennessee’s at-bats in the ninth inning were important, but don’t forget about Cannon Peebles pinch hitting and working a walk that all but guaranteed that the lineup would flip back over to the red-hot Christian Moore.

Florida State left-handed pitcher Oxford had just come in the game and Peebles quickly went ahead 3-0. He watched strike one, just fouled off strike two into the catcher’s mitt and stayed alive with a check swing that chopped the ball foul down the third base line before holding off on a back foot breaking ball to reach base on balls.

Tennessee trailed by two and there was no one on-base with one-out. Peebles kept the pressure on the Seminoles.

“He’s been doing that all year,” third baseman Billy Amick said of Peebles. “He takes his walks and that’s huge, just passing it on to the next guy when the at-bats he is getting are typically in the back of the order so just getting it to the top of the order is huge.”

Don’t forget that Peebles has become Tennessee’s best pinch hit option this season.

He’s come through consistently the back half of the season when called upon. There’s been some flashy moments, like a home run at Vanderbilt. But most the time Peebles is just working competitive at-bats and passing the torch to the next guy.

More From RTI: Everything Tennessee HC Tony Vitello Said After The Vols Defeated Florida State

“He’s a competitor,” right fielder Kavares Tears said of why Peebles thrives as a pinch hitter. “Maybe not the exact position that you would want to be in and I was in that exact position at this time last year and I think the biggest thing is when you get your chance now it’s my time. Let’s go. He believes that.”

Don’t forget that Peebles was a Freshman All-American last season at North Carolina State leading the Wolfpack in runs batted in.

The catcher’s first season in Knoxville hasn’t gone as well as anyone expected. Even as the quality of his at-bats have improved, Tennessee hasn’t given him many designated hitter opportunities because he’s a catcher and he’s been good as a pinch hitter. But he’s embraced it all for the team.

“It’s, we’ve got an opportunity to put you in the game, but hold on, we want to put you in the game when the fire’s burning hot,” Tennessee head coach Tony Vitello said of Peebles. “That can be really frustrating for a young guy … But for this team in particular it’s what his role is and what it needs to be.

“Peebles has accepted his role.”

No one will forget what followed Peebles’ at-bat. Christian Moore’s legendary night included one more fantastic at-bat. Blake Burke erased prior defensive mistakes with a clutch single to tie the game. Billy Amick passed the baton to Dreiling and the sophomore etched his name into Tennessee history.

But don’t forget about Peebles’ at-bat. It made everything that followed in the four-run ninth inning possible.

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