Tennessee baseball wins first NCAA title

Christian Moore hit a leadoff homer, Dylan Dreiling went deep for the third time in three games and Tennessee won its first national championship in baseball with a 6-5 victory over Texas A&M on Monday night in Game 3 of the College World Series finals.

The Volunteers bounced back from a Game 1 loss to win two straight and become the first No. 1 national seed in the NCAA Tournament to win the title since Miami in 1999.

Tennessee (60-13) held an Aggies' offense averaging 8.5 runs per game for the season to six runs over the last 20 innings of the finals, with Zander Sechrist and Nate Snead doing the heavy lifting on Monday before the Aggies came back to score four runs and get the tying run at the plate in the ninth.

Aaron Combs struck out Hayden Schott and Ted Burton to end the game and set off a Tennessee celebration behind the pitcher's mound.

The Vols are the eighth Southeastern Conference school to win a national title in baseball. Those eight have combined for 16 titles. The SEC has won five in a row, all by different schools, and 10 of the last 15. Texas A&M threatened to cut into a 3-1 deficit in the sixth and seventh innings, but Snead got the Vols out of trouble both times.

Dreiling, the CWS Most Outstanding Player, connected for his 23rd homer of the season and Hunter Ensley evaded Jackson Appel's tag at the plate as he scored on Kavares Tears' double to make it 6-1 going to the eighth. Since the CWS best-of-three finals began in 2003, Dreiling is the only player to homer in three games.

The Vols' two homers Monday moved them into a tie with the 1998 LSU team for most in an NCAA Tournament (37) and gave them 184 for the season, four behind the 1997 LSU team's NCAA record of 188. Texas A&M created some anxiety for the Vols in the eighth, scoring twice and threatening to get more with two runners on base with one out.

Kirby Connell struck out Kaeden Kent on three pitches and Ryan Targac on four. Connell pumped his left fist twice, gave a primal scream and skipped over the third-base line on his way back to the dugout.

The Aggies scored twice, the second run coming home on a wild pitch, to make it a one-run game before Combs finished it off. Among the fans on hand in Tennessee orange were football great Peyton Manning, football coach Josh Heupel, men’s basketball coach Rick Barnes and country music artist Morgan Wallen.

Temperature at first pitch was a humid 98 degrees, with most of the Vols’ fans in the direct sun along the third-base side until the middle innings and in the outfield bleachers until sundown. Moore took their mind off the heat, at least for a moment, when he drove

Justin Lamkin’s fourth pitch, an elevated fastball, off the back wall of the left-field bullpen for his team-leading 34th homer of the season. Moore, who hit for the cycle in the Vols’ win over Florida State in their CWS opener, batted .370 (10 for 27) in Omaha with two homers, two triples and two doubles.

Article Comments
Guidelines: Keep it civil and on topic; no profanity, vulgarity, slurs or personal attacks. People who harass others or joke about tragedies will be blocked. If a comment violates these standards or our terms of service, click the "flag" link in the lower-right corner of the comment box. To find our more, read our FAQ.