Tennessee fends off elimination, forces decisive Game 3

OMAHA, Neb. – Tennessee kept its championship hopes alive on Sunday afternoon at Charles Schwab Field, fending off a nail-biting ninth-inning comeback attempt by Texas A&M to secure a 4-1 victory.

Tennessee’s victory forces a decisive Game 3 in the College World Series championship series, setting the stage for an electrifying showdown between two evenly matched teams.

“It was an SEC war, or just a postseason war,” Vols coach Tony Vitello said. “And in that situation, if you had your druthers, you’d like to have the last at-bat because you know the ninth inning is going to be full of drama. But I think our kids kept their composure in that ninth inning.”

Texas A&M brought the tying run to the plate in the ninth inning. After the first two runners reached, Vitello called on star reliever Nate Snead. The sophomore righty maintained his dominance in the College World Series, retiring all three batters he faced to secure the win.

Tennessee’s offense started slow, struggling with runners in scoring position. After Jace LaViolette’s solo home run gave Texas A&M a 1-0 lead in the first inning, both teams were held scoreless until the seventh inning.

With two outs in the seventh inning, Dylan Dreiling had a two-run home run to give the Volunteers a one-run lead. Up until that point, the Volunteers were 0 for 14 with runners on base.

In the eighth inning, Cal Stark extended Tennessee’s advantage with a two-run home run to left field, making it 4-1.

“We hit a couple of homers. It’s unique in this park,” Vitello said. “Normally things kind of happen 90 feet at a time or doubles and then you have stuff like that happen. So maybe guys just trying to do a little too much and getting big and getting outside of themselves.”

Tennessee is the No. 1 overall seed in the tournament and is trying to make history. Miami is the only No. 1 overall seed to win the national championship (1999) in the tournament’s current format. The Volunteers are just the third No. 1 seed ― the 2004 and 2009 Texas Longhorns ― to reach the College World Series championship series since Miami’s victory.

Dan Zielinski III has covered the MLB draft for nine years. He has interviewed 518 of the top draft prospects in that period, including four No. 1 overall picks. Multiple publications, including Baseball America, USA Today, MLB.com, The Arizona Republic and The Dallas Morning News, have quoted his work, while he has appeared on radio stations as a “MLB draft expert.” Follow him on Twitter @DanZielinski3.

Dan Zielinski III
Dan Zielinski IIIhttp://BaseballProspectJournal.com
Dan Zielinski III is the creator of the Baseball Prospect Journal and has covered the MLB draft since 2015. His draft work originally appeared on The3rdManIn.com, a sports website he started in December 2011. He also covered the Milwaukee Brewers as a member of the credentialed media for four years. Follow him on Twitter @DanZielinski3.

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