Men’s College World Series: Tennessee captures their first title in school history

Sunday in Omaha a two-run home run from Dylan Dreiling kept Tennessee’s title dreams alive.

Monday night in Omaha a two-run blast from Dreiling helped solidify them.

The Tennessee Volunteers captured the NCAA Men’s College World Series for the first time in school history, taking the best-of-three series against Texas A&M in Game 3 by a final score of 6-5.

And as was the case Sunday, Dreiling played a starring role.

A sacrifice fly from Dreiling in the third inning staked the Volunteers to a 2-1 lead, but the score was 3-1 in Tennessee’s favor when Dreiling came to the plate with two outs in the bottom of the seventh. Billy Amick, having singled to left center ahead of Dreiling, took his lead off first.

But he would jog from there:

Dreiling got his hand around on a 78-mph breaking ball from Texas A&M pitcher Evan Aschenbeck, lofting a high fly ball to right field. Aggies right fielder Caden Sorrell gave it everything he had on the leap, but he came up just inches short.

That made it three home runs in three Men’s College World Series Finals games for Dreiling, and the outfielder’s two-run shot gave the Volunteers a 5-1 lead.

Tennessee was not done in the seventh and tacked on another run on one of the greatest slides you may ever see. After Dreiling’s home run Hunter Ensley got on with a seeing-eye single, which brought Kavares Tears to the plate. Tears promptly launched a deep fly off the wall in center field, and Ensley tried to come all the way around from first on the play, but a great relay from the Aggies saw the ball beat Ensley to home plate.

But somehow, some way, Ensley avoided the tag from catcher Jackson Appel:

Ensley reads this play perfectly. He sees the throw come to the glove side of Appel and then cuts to the inside, sweeping across the plate with his left hand to touch home. Texas A&M challenged the play, but video replays confirmed the safe call on the field.

That slide would end up being huge.

The Aggies put two runs on the board in the eighth to make it 6-3, but left-hander Kirby Connell came into the game and stopped the bleeding with a pair of strikeouts to end the inning. Aidan Combs, who also played a huge role in Sunday’s win for Tennessee coming out of the bullpen, came on to face the top of the Texas A&M lineup in the ninth.

The Aggies did not make it easy.

Gavin Grahovac led off the inning with a double, bringing the dangerous Jace LaViolette to the plate. Combs was able to strike out LaViolette, but an Appel single into left field plated Grahovac, making the Tennessee lead 6-4 and bringing the tying run to the plate in the form of Hayden Schott, who was 3-for-4 on the night with a trio of singles.

Combs got the swinging strikeout of Schott with a high fastball, and the Aggies were down to their final out as Ted Burton strode to the plate. But a wild pitch brought Appel home, making it 6-5 with Burton representing the tying run, and the go-ahead run in the on-deck circle.

Combs punched Burton out on a 79-mph breaking ball, getting Burton to go down swinging and touching off the celebration. For the first time in school history, the baseball National Championship trophy is headed to Rocky Top.

For his effort throughout the series, Dreiling was named the tournament’s Most Outstanding Player.

With the title the Volunteers became the first No. 1 overall seed to win the Men’s College World Series since Miami did it back in 1999. That was the first year the tournament expanded to the current 64-team format.

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