Home Sports Men’s College World Series Finals: Tennessee bats come alive to force a decisive Game 3 vs. Texas A&M

Men’s College World Series Finals: Tennessee bats come alive to force a decisive Game 3 vs. Texas A&M

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OMAHA, NEBRASKA - JUNE 23: Christian Moore #1 celebrates with Dylan Dreiling #8 of the Tennessee Volunteers after a 2-run home run against the Texas A&M Aggies in the seventh inning during game two of the Men's Baseball Championship Division I held at Charles Schwab Field on June 23, 2024 in Omaha, Nebraska. (Photo by C. Morgan Engel/NCAA Photos via Getty Images)

OMAHA, NEBRASKA – Tennessee’s Christian Moore celebrates with Dylan Dreiling after a 2-run home run against Texas A&M in game two of the Men’s College World Series finals on June 23, 2024. (Photo by C. Morgan Engel/ NCAA Photos via Getty Images)

Any team scored more runs in Division I college baseball than Tennessee in 2024. But the Volunteers couldn’t break through until the seventh inning against Texas A&M in Game 2 of the College World Series Finals on Sunday.

Left fielder Dylan Dreiling hit a two-run homer off Kaiden Wilson for a 2-1 lead. Catcher Cal Stark added his own two-run shot in the eighth to increase Tennessee’s lead to 4-1 which stood as the final score.

With the 4-1 victory, the Vols force a decisive Game 3 at Charles Schwab Field in Omaha on Monday night at 7 pm ET. Tennessee will try to become the first No. 1 national seed since Miami in 1999 (when the current NCAA baseball tournament format was introduced for the first time) to win the College World Series.

Facing elimination in the best-of-three series, the Vols their black t-shirts exploded in which they went 9-1 this season. Make that 10-1 now.

Dreiling, a sophomore, was Tennessee’s third-leading home run hitter coming into Omaha with 19 remaining with a .330 batting average and 1.153 OPS. Stark hit nine home runs in his senior season, batting .234 with a .921 OPS. His home run on Sunday was his first hit of the College World Series.

The Aggies threatened to tie the game in the bottom of the ninth with two consecutive singles. But Vols reliever Nate Snead got Ali Camarillo to hit a fielder’s choice grounder at second base, then retired the next two batters on fly balls to close out the win.

Texas A&M’s Chris Cortez took over in the second inning after starter Zane Badmaev. Despite five walks, the junior right-hander allowed no runs on two hits as he struck out seven against the best offense in Division I college baseball.

Vols starter Drew Beam struck out seven batters in his four innings, allowing just one run on three hits and two walks. Surprisingly, the offense was unable to score on him while he was on the mound. The junior right-hander was 8-2 with a 4.16 ERA in 16 starts, recording 80 strikeouts in 88 2/3 innings.

The Aggies are chasing the first NCAA baseball championship in school history and opened the scoring with a home run by outfielder Jace LaViolette. The sophomore led A&M with 28 home runs and 75 RBIs entering Sunday, batting .315 with a 1.220 OPS.

Down 1-0, Tennessee had two bases-loaded opportunities with two outs, but was unable to score a run on either of them.

In the second, a throwing error by Camarillo at shortstop loaded the bases, but pitcher Chris Cortez ended the threat by having Vols slugger Christian Moore ground out to second base. Then in the fourth, two walks by Cortez loaded the bases again and they escaped with another groundout to second base by Blake Burke.

The Vols had another chance to tie the score or take the lead in the sixth when Cortez gave up a single and walked with one out. Left-hander Kaiden Wilson came in and got catcher Cal Stark to ground out for a double play that ended the inning.

Texas A&M and Tennessee play Game 3 of the 2024 NCAA Division I baseball championship on Monday at 7 p.m. ET. The broadcast will be televised by ESPN.

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