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Vols Add Another Arm From the JUCO Ranks - RHP Austin Breedlove

Yesterday, March 12th, the Volunteers picked up yet another pitching commitment, this time from Junior College transfer Austin Breedlove. Breedlove is a 6’3” right handed sophomore currently playing for Cleveland State CC, where he has already logged 34 innings in six appearances and five starts. The separator for the Cleveland State ace is how he has managed to pile up an astounding 54 strikeouts already, good for 2nd in the nation at the Junior College ranks. That includes three starts with double-digit strikeouts, and one of those was a 7 inning start with 14 strikeouts to just 1 walk.

Breedlove is showing a lot of potential in the early season and will look to contribute immediately as part of Frank Anderson’s staff for the 2025 season. The righty chose Tennessee because he will “get to be a part of a winning program with good development and pitch in front of an electric fan base.” How can anyone argue differently given everything Vitello and his staff has poured into the program?

As far as his strengths go, Breedlove is a big time competitor that wants nothing more than to go out and win ball games. He boasts a 5 pitch mix that emphasizes his curveball as the out pitch. His full repertoire is a 4-seam, sinker, curveball, slider, and changeup. It’s not very often that a college pitcher has that type of arsenal at his disposal, so it will be interesting to see how Frank Anderson decides to deploy that type of mix. The fastball currently sits at an easy 90-92 and tops out at 93. Given his frame and effortless delivery, Breedlove has some room to continue to gain velocity on that fastball as well. Austin said the biggest thing he wants to work on to continue to grow his game is to get ahead with the first pitch more often. 

Another big reason for his commitment was the culture that has been built at Tennessee. Not enough can be said about what Vitello has been able to do to turn around a floundering Tennessee program to what it is now in his seventh season on Rocky Top. Breedlove is another example of how the Vols retool and reload each and every year instead of rebuilding. If Breedlove continues to pitch well and improve, he should have an immediate impact on the pitching staff as either a starter or a high-leverage bullpen arm as soon as he sets foot on campus. He will have 2 years of eligibility remaining.

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