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College World Series: Tennessee Stays Alive With 6-4 Win Vs. Stanford

 Leif Skodnick  |    Jun 20th, 2023 12:37am EDT

Tennessee’s Blake Burke celebrates after stealing home on a wild pitch against Stanford in the seventh inning of a baseball game at the NCAA College World Series in Omaha, Neb., on Monday, June 19, 2023. Tennessee defeated Stanford 6-4. (AP Photo/Rebecca S. Gratz)

By Matthew Tallarini
World Baseball Network

OMAHA, Neb. – The Tennessee Volunteers knocked off Stanford 6-4 on Monday afternoon in the 2023 NCAA Division I College World Series.

Volunteers sophomore pitcher Chase Burns was the showstopper in Monday’s game, as he threw six innings out of the bullpen, allowing two hits, no earned runs, no walks, and struck out nine while facing 20 batters to help Tennessee stay alive in Omaha.

Tennessee’s pitching staff is second in the country in ERA this season at 3.62, trailing Wake Forest University (2.82). 

“That offense is really talented. So me coming in there, me and [pitching] Coach [Frank Anderson] had a game plan going into it and just following that game plan and sticking to it 100 percent,” said Burns. “Coming out of the bullpen, you’ve got one thing in mind, it’s just do your job. No fight is too big for us. Just going to go out there, do my job, hope for the best.”

In the bottom of the first, during Alberto Rios’s at-bat for Stanford, the Cardinal attempted a double steal with Carter Graham on second base and Braden Montgomery on first base. Volunteers catcher Cal Stark’s throwing error allowed Graham to come in and score for the first run of the game. A few moments later, Rios laced a double down the left line scoring Montgomery to extend the lead to 2-0.

During the bottom of the third inning, Montgomery hit a single up the middle scoring Eddie Park to make it 3-0. The next batter, Rios, lifted a sacrifice fly to left field, scoring junior third baseman Tommy Troy to make it 4-0.

Volunteers starting pitcher Chase Dollander went three innings, allowing four hits, four earned runs, walking two, and striking out two with 58 total pitches.

In the top of the fifth, the Volunteers climbed back in the game with a four-run rally that started with Hunter Ensley’s sacrifice fly to left field that scored Zane Denton, who dove head first, his left hand swiping the plate ahead of the tag from Cardinal catcher Malcolm Moore for the Tennessee’s first run of the game.

The next batter, left fielder Jared Dickey, ripped a single to center field, scoring Cal Stark to cut the lead in half to 4-2. A few batters later, sophomore second baseman Christian Moore drilled a two-run single to center field, and Dickey and junior Maui Ahuna scored to tie at four.

Cardinal starting pitcher Quinn Mathews threw 4.2 innings, allowing 10 hits, four earned runs, walking one, and striking out six.

“I know they’ve got a lot of elimination wins and comeback wins. It was going to take an extra special effort out of our whole team, to be honest with you,” said Volunteers head coach Tony Vitello. “This is the second week in a row we got to a guy that many people don’t get to”. 

During the top of the seventh inning, the Volunteers took the lead for the first time in the game when Denton’s ground ball to Cardinal shortstop Temo Becerra scored Griffin Merritt.

A few moments later, during right fielder Christian’s Scott at-bat, Blake Burke came in to score on a wild pitch to extend the lead to 6-4.

Burns felt control all game when he came out of the bullpen as he entered the ninth inning looking to shut the door and keep the Volunteers alive in the College World Series getting Becerra to fly out to Ensley for the final out of the game as Tennessee held onto beat No. 8 Stanford University 6-4.

“Today’s game, obviously it started out well for us taking a lead early but Chase Burns came in there and just slammed the door on us and made it really difficult for us, didn’t give us any cracks. We were going to have to do something special there against him,” Stanford head coach David Esquer said. 

The Tennessee Volunteers will play the loser of No. 1 Wake Forest University and No. 5 Louisiana State University on Tuesday at 7 p.m. EDT on ESPN.

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Leif Skodnick