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What Tennessee Players Said After Vol Baseball Won The National Championship

Photo via Tennessee Athletics

Tennessee baseball defeated Texas A&M 6-5 on Tuesday afternoon to clinch the program’s first ever National Championship.

Following the game, outfielders Dylan Dreiling and Hunter Ensley and starting pitcher Zander Sechrist met with the media during the postgame press conference.

Dreiling went two-for-two at the plate with a two-run homer, a walk and a sac fly on his way to earning College World Series MVP honors. Ensley went two-for-four at the plate with a clutch slide to avoid a tag at home. Sechrist allowed just one earned run while striking out seven batters in 5.1 innings pitched.

Here’s what the trio said.

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Hunter Ensley

On his slide at home

“I know K.T. really hit that ball hard. You could probably say I was assuming it a little bit, at the very beginning off the bat, that I thought he got enough of it. Peeked in. Saw that it stayed in. It took a really good bounce right to LaViolette.

When I saw that I knew I had to get on my horse. Dean was pretty much telling me outside, outside, outside. And the throw actually ended up carrying the guy to the outside.

Just natural instinct trying to make a play right there and get back on the inside part of the bag. And just was able to avoid the tag right there, and ended up being a pretty big run.”

Dylan Dreiling

On the at-bat when he hit the seventh inning home run

“I kind of blacked out again in that moment. I know first pitch I overswung on a heater way up. And then I kind of just told myself, I said, “Just see the ball deep and just put a good swing on something.” He threw me a change-up over the middle, and I just almost tried to be late on it to stay back, and put a good swing on it.”

Zander Sechrist

On what it means for both himself and Kirby to have big games in that spot

“Just surreal. I mean, that guy has been here for five years in this program, and it’s basically come from the ground up. I was blessed to get an opportunity to play here for the last four years, along with the guy next to me as well.

And Coach V said it earlier, just grit. We had unfinished business, especially this being the third time we’ve been here in the last four years. ’21 we didn’t do well. ’22 you could arguably say that was the best college baseball team ever. ’23 we got to experience winning at least a game here, but the job wasn’t finished. And ’24 just felt a little different. And I’m just blessed today get the job done.”

On the confidence Tony Vitello has installed in him

“That’s a long list right there but I guess I gotta say good things since he’s sitting right there. But the man’s like a father figure, to be honest. I was blessed enough to have him recruit me. Growing up in a single-mother household and talking to this man mostly every day and every week, he was just like a father figure to me.

I went on my recruiting visits and I bought a hat here in the alumni Vol shop. I go back home and I realize that out of all the recruiting visits, the only thing I bought was a Tennessee hat.

It just felt like home. I’m glad that we finally, finally got it done. I couldn’t be more happier for this program and the way it’s been built. And I see Danny White back there, so I’m going to put it out there: I hope there’s a lifetime contract coming soon for Coach Vitello.”

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