Everything Tony Vitello said after No. 1 Vols’ wild win over Campbell

Saturday was a long but good night for the top-ranked Tennessee baseball team, and Vols coach Tony Vitello had plenty to say about it.

Tennessee overcame a four-run deficit and beat Campbell, 12-7, in a winners’ bracket game of the NCAA Tournament’s Knoxville Regional at a raucous Lindsey Nelson Stadium.

A four-run top of the ninth inning for Tennessee (55-7) made the win over Campbell (41-18) look infinitely smoother than it felt until the final moments, but the Vols handled their business and advanced to the championship round of this weekend’s regional.

Campbell and Georgia Tech will play at 2 pm Eastern on Sunday, and the winner would have to beat Tennessee on Sunday night and then again Monday afternoon to advance to the Super Regional round. The Vols, meanwhile, just need to win once, and they would earn a home Super Regional series next weekend against the winner of the Statesboro Regional — where Notre Dame, Georgia Southern and Texas Tech are still alive.

SEC Pitcher of the Year and first-team All-American Chase Dollander had a rare rough night, allowing four runs (just two earned) on six hits in 2.2 innings against a Campbell offense that’s ranked top-10 nationally in home runs, stolen bases and scoring. The Vols got a big relief outing from junior left-hander Kirby Connell, though. The artist also known as Vollie Fingers threw a career-high 70 pitches, allowing two runs on two hits while striking out four and walking two, earning a win to improve to 4-0 on the year. Star freshman right-hander Chase Burns and left-handed senior closer Redmond Walsh worked the final 2.1 innings, with Walsh pitching a perfect bottom of the ninth to send the Vols into the championship round.

Campbell sophomore right-hander Cade Kuehler — who, like Dollander, is a potential first-round pick in next summer’s Major League Baseball draft — started strong before finally succumbing to the nation’s most potent offense. Kuehler was tagged with the loss, allowing seven earned runs on eight hits in seven innings, striking out 10 and walking two. Right-hander ty cummings and Ryan Chasse worked the final two innings, allowing five runs on seven hits.

At four-run bottom of the third game the Camels have 4-0 lead, but the Vols fought back to score three in the top off the fourth and four more to take the lead in the top of the fifth. A two-run home run from sophomore second baseman Jorel Ortega was the big blow in the fourth, and a three-run homer from junior center fielder Drew Gilbert was the big blow in the fifth.

Campbell cut the deficit to 7-6 on a two-run homer from first baseman Drake Pierson in the bottom of the seventh. Tennessee bumped the lead to 8-6 on a solo home run from freshman designated hitter Blake Burke in the top of the eighth, but the Camels cut it to 8-7 on a solo homer from designated hitter Connor Denning in the bottom of the inning.

Tennessee finally put the game to bed in the top of the ninth, thanks to a pinch-hit RBI single from Christian Moore and a three-run homer moments later from junior shortstop Cortland Lawson.

A full recap from Saturday’s game can be found HERE.

Here’s everything Vitello said after Saturday’s wild win.

Leave a Comment