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Vols ride C-Mo's Historic Night to Ninth Inning Comeback

OMAHA, NE- Following an afternoon thriller involving ACC colleagues Virginia and North Carolina, 25,499 filed in for game two of the College World Series between Tennessee and Florida State.  Link Jarrett’s Seminoles punched their first ticket to Omaha since 2019 following a sweep of UConn at Dick Howser Field in Tallahassee.  The Volunteers clinched their third trip to Omaha in the past four seasons following a three-game Super

Regional victory over Evansville.  

Florida State’s season was superseded by the passing of the legendary Head Coach Mike Martin, who led Florida State to 2,029 wins during his illustrious career.  When Martin retired, the Seminole program faced a lull of which it hadn’t seen in decades.  Amidst the program’s low point, Jarrett was named the 10th Head Coach in program history, filling the spot once held by Martin.  While Martin’s career speaks for itself, and his impact will forever be felt in the FSU program, the sound waves that bounce around the empty trophy case in Tallahassee speak louder, at least in the head of Jarrett.  “Now I want to win it for him.  Like why as a player couldn’t I get it done?  It keeps me up.  What did I not do?  What were we not doing that kept us from that… I owe it to the program, him, to figure out how to finish it”.  Reaching Omaha in year two at the helm is a good start for the Seminole skipper.

The Tony Vitello era at Tennessee has now yielded three trips to Omaha and Vitello carries pieces of previous CWS defeats with him.  When looking back at his team’s finale in Omaha last season, Vitello feels his team wasn’t true to themselves against LSU.  “When we show up on Friday we could either win or we could lose, but I would prefer when we get back on the bus to go to the hotel, we won or lost as the 2024 Vols.”  Tonight, the 2024 Vols played like the 2024 Vols.  “Sometimes, when you compete, you can cover up mistakes, and I think that’s what the definition of that is tonight.  It was certainly a great example” Vitello said following the Vols CWS opener. 

The second game of the 2024 CWS featured Florida State ace Jamie Arnold with his robust 2.77 ERA and an 11-3 record on the year and Tennessee opener Chris Stamos, who had been half of a dependable duo with AJ Causey to attack offenses for much of the season.  College baseball games aren’t played on paper, though those who kept score at Charles Schwab Field Friday night probably wish it was.

The Florida State offense struck first when a wild pitch allowed Max Williams to cross the plate before the Tennessee offense had been able to fire their first shot.  Fire they did.  Blake Burke drove in Christian Moore and Burke was quickly sent home via a Dylan Dreiling single.  The Volunteer run continued in the third when, again, the bat of Moore set the table for a crooked number.  His double drove in Cal Stark, with some help from a loose baseball.  Moore followed suit by touching home following a throwing error from Arnold. 

The Seminole offense responded with a six spot in the top half of the third inning thanks to five hits and two miscues by the Tennessee defense.  FSU left-fielder Jaime Ferrer got the scoring started in the six-run-third Vitello described as a “touchdown inning”.  It was again Ferrer in the seventh inning, this time depositing the first home run of the 2024 CWS over the left-field wall.  His 20th blast of the season gave the Seminoles an 9-4 lead.  

The Volunteers began to chip away when Kavares Tears smacked a two-run homer to right.  Moore got in on the act in the sixth, sending a solo shot into the bleachers.  His home run etched his name into CWS history, giving him the cycle on the evening. “Through the whole game the only mindset I have is to win, get on base for my team and set the tone.  I have really good hitters behind me, so I just want to get on for them.” Moore added, he was unaware that he had accomplished the feat at the time.

Not to be intimidated by the Volunteer fight, Jarrett’s squad etched two more runs onto the right field scoreboard thanks to a left-center gap double off the bat of Marco Dinges.  The Seminole lead swelled to 11-7, with FSU reliever Conner Whitaker keeping the Tennessee bats silent for the first time since the fourth.  

Dylan Dreiling drove in the 8th run for the Volunteers in the 8th, and Dean Curley’s sac fly cut the Seminole lead to 11-9 in the 9th.  It was Blake Burke who sent a single back up the middle, scoring Moore and Peebles to tie things up at 11 in the 9th.  Dreiling found a gap to push the winning run across the Volunteers, marking their first walk off victory of the season and their first since April, 2023.

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