From the Sports Editor’s desk…Vols baseball has put a spark back in UT athletics

Published 12:12 pm Tuesday, June 15, 2021

For local Tennessee Volunteer fans, there has been something missing for a long time and that is simply a solid spark within the athletic program to once again give Vol fans something to rally behind and cheer on.

Don’t get me wrong, Coach Rick Barnes and the basketball team tried their darnedest last season to do that with some young talent but faltered down the stretch and all hopes of a strong run in the postseason came to naught.

However, head coach Tony Vitello and his UT baseball team have Vol Nation rip-roaring excited as the Vols have made a run through the regions and super-regional unscathed defeating Wright State and Liberty twice in the regional and LSU in two consecutive games to earn the trip to Omaha to face off with the University of Virginia Cavaliers.

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One thing that LSU coach Paul Mainieri did little to help his team’s chances as he had thrown gas on the fire after the Tigers had lost earlier in the season to the Vols saying basically that the UT fan base and team were out of control.

Now Mainieri will spend his retirement thinking about the bulletin board material that he gave the Vols as motivation as if they needed any more when they handled the visiting Tigers for the super regional title and a College World Series berth.

Tennessee fans gathered in any nook and corner they could to cheer on the baseball Vols over the weekend including spilling into the streets outside Lindsey Nelson Stadium to watch the game on the big screen.

Now, the Vols and their fan base must turn their attention to Omaha where the Vols are not just wanting to make a candid appearance and be done but look to bring back the title to Knoxville and Vol Nation.

Tennessee (50-16) will play Virginia (35-25) on Sunday at 1 pm Central on ESPN 2 while Texas plays Mississippi State on Sunday evening.

The losers of Sunday’s game will play each other at 1 pm Central on Tuesday on ESPNU while the winners will square off on Tuesday at 6 pm Central on ESPN2.

It’s interesting to note that the SEC has three teams in the College World Series this year with Tennessee, Vanderbilt, and Mississippi State qualifying.

The nation’s number one team, the Arkansas Razorbacks, were being penciled in to be at Omaha before being upset by North Carolina State.

If you are a baseball lover and haven’t taken in any of the college games this season, you owe it to yourself to watch some of the World Series even if you aren’t a Tennessee fan.

The games have been very entertaining and some even heart-pulsing with the games coming down to the final at-bat with Tennessee’s win over Wright State with a grand slam in the bottom of the ninth being a prime example.

I, for one, will be tuned in to watch my Vols play but not only Tennessee. It appears that this College World Series will be one for the ages.