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Back In Black: Tennessee Rides Ebony Jerseys To 4-3 SECT Title Win Over LSU

Updated: May 26

By Doug Kyle

HOOVER, AL--There was a story going around Sunday that the Tennessee baseball team was adamant about wearing their black jersey uniforms in the Southeastern Conference Tournament Championship Game. Whether it had anything to do with their performance, who knows, but it makes for a great story now, as the Volunteers overcame an early 1st inning 1-0 LSU lead (on a monster Jared Jones home run reported to have carried 471 feet) with a home run of their own (in the 3rd, good for three runs).

The 3-1 lead held up as LSU had trouble finding offense once Dylan Loy came in to pitch for Tennessee, then the Vols added another run in the 7th that would prove critical later in the game.

Once Loy exited, LSU appeared to be on the verge of making one of their legendary comebacks. They loaded the bases with two outs in the 6th, but a pickoff of Steven Milam on a throw from catcher Cal Stark ended the inning, thrilling those in orange and stunning those in purple and gold who were poised to watch yet another rally from the indefatigable Tigers.

And, everyone knew the Tigers weren't done. They came back again, as they always seem to do, and had done earlier in the week at Hoover, making it all the way back from an 8-0 hole in one game to win 12-11 in extra innings.

That's where what may have seemed like a routine insurance run in the 7th for Tennessee became the difference in the game. LSU scored two on a pair of doubles and an error, but two strikeouts swinging snuffed out any chance of further comeback.

In the aftermath, Tennessee quite likely ends up the #1 overall seed in the NCAA Field of 64 when it's announced on Monday. They got a second trophy this week from SEC Commissioner Greg Sankey, the regular season Co-championship with Kentucky presented earlier.

And LSU? They will surely get a bid to the Big Diamond Dance on Monday too, which may have been just a wee bit in doubt to some objective observers when the team was practicing Monday morning at the Hoover Met.

The tournament itself has a bright future, based on the record attendance and renderings on display at the Met of renovation and enhancement that will greet teams, and especially fans, in 2025. While many locales would no doubt love to host the SECT, the city of Hoover, affectionately dubbed "Little Omaha" by the throngs of people who venture there for the best college baseball, is only ramping up what was already an enviable job of managing and supporting the event. People on the outside can make fun of "It Just Means More," but when something comes off the way the 2024 tournament did, it doesn't just mean more, it IS more.


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