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Tennessee Baseball Defeats Texas A&M To Win National Championship

Photo via Tennessee Athletics

OMAHA, Neb. — Hunter Ensley came bumbling towards home plate on a bad hamstring. The throw beat him to the base easily but it mattered little. The junior centerfield evaded catcher Jackson Appel’s tag with a nasty swim move and spiked his helmet in celebration.

Kavares Tears two-out RBI double extended Tennessee’s lead to five-runs in the seventh inning and helped propel the Vols to a 6-5 victory to win the program’s first ever National Championship. Here’s how it went down.

Success Against Justin Lamkin

Texas A&M bullpen arm turned starter Justin Lampkin had allowed just four hits in eight innings pitched in his first two starts at the College World Series.

The Vols didn’t terrorize him but they had plenty of success against him, scoring three runs on five hits in 2.2 innings pitched. Tennessee had success from the jump when Christian Moore took a 1-2 fastball into the left field bullpen for his seventh leadoff home run of the season.

Blake Burke sparked the offense in the third inning, doubling to deep right-center field to lead off the inning. He advanced to third on a Billy Amick groundout and scored on a Dylan Dreiling sac fly.

Tennessee wasn’t done in the third inning either. Two straight singles from Hunter Ensley and Kavares Tears ended Lamkin’s night and Dean Curley gave him one more earned run with a RBI single to left field.

And while that’s when Tennessee did its damage they kept pressure on Lampkin throughout the early innings. They had two baserunners after Moore’s homer in the first inning and one in the second inning.

Zander Sechrist Is Fantastic Again

The moment got bigger and Zander Sechrist rose to it one again.

Tennessee’s senior left-handed pitcher has become its most effective starter over the last six weeks and his last college outing was another great one.

Sechrist tossed 5.1 innings allowing just one run on six hits and one walk while striking out seven batters. He gave up his lone run in a third inning where an error made things more difficult on the left-handed pitcher. Sechrist got out of the jam and kept the game tied when he got Jackson Appel to ground into an inning ending double play.

Even as his evening waned, Sechrist was still effective. He struck out the side in the fifth inning and opened the sixth inning with another strikeout before a Ted Burton single to right field and a Hayden Schott seeing-eye single ended his day.

Nate Snead got out of the sixth inning jam and submitted another fantastic performance from Sechrist.

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A Game Changing Seventh Inning

Both the top and bottom half of the the seventh inning started in very different ways. They ended in very different ways too.

After retiring the leadoff man, Kaeden Kent singled and Ryan Targac walked to give Texas A&M two-on with one-out for the top of its order. A Gavin Grahovac fly out to center field moved Kent to third base and brought up star Jace LaViolette in a huge spot.

LaViolette hit a hard chopper that got over Blake Burke’s head but Moore was there and Burke got back to the bag in time to record the final out of the inning.

Then Texas A&M’s top reliever Evan Aschenbeck retired Moore and Burke on two pitches to start the inning. But that’s when Tennessee got going.

Billy Amick sparked the two-out rally with a single to left field before Dylan Dreiling hit a two-run homer into the Texas A&M bullpen. Dreiling became the first player to hit home runs in all three games of the College World Series finals. They were all two-run shots in the seventh inning.

But Tennessee wasn’t done either. Hunter Ensley singled and scored on a Kavares Tears double off the right-center wall. He did it with one of the most impressive slides you’ll ever see.

In an inning that looked like Texas A&M might tie the game, Tennessee ended up expanding its lead to five runs.

Box Score

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The parade.

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