Tennessee was eliminated from the baseball playoffs by Notre Dame

The University of Tennessee is widely regarded as the best college baseball team of a generation. But like many other top seeds over the years, volunteers were unable to navigate the NCAA baseball playoffs and were eliminated without even making it to the eight-team College World Series.

The playoffs started off well for Tennessee. 53-7 after the regular season and the Southeastern Conference title and No. 1 seed. After ranking No. 1, Tennessee was swept by some low competition in the opening rounds.

But they were met with a surprising opposition from Notre Dame in the Super Regional, 16th round.

Notre Dame was one of the undefeated teams in the tournament, but was not expected to beat home run hitters Tennessee and the best ERA in Division I. Tennessee also had the advantage of playing at its best. – Three series in the house.

But in the opening game, Notre Dame scored a home run in each of the first three innings and took a 5-0 lead over Tennessee ace Blade Tidwell, then hanging on to an 8-6 victory. This is the first time Notre Dame has defeated the country’s No. 1 team in 20 years.

Tennessee’s 12-4 win in Game 2 looks exactly like what fans expected. And Tennessee’s escape from the series when they took a 3-1 lead in the seventh inning at Decide. But back-to-back homers in that innings gave Notre Dame a 4-3 lead and the Fighting Irish extended it to a 7-3 final score.

Blame it on the difference in baseball – or some kind of college World Series curse, if you will. No team ranked No. 1 after Miami in 1999. 1 did not win the World Series. Tennessee is the third straight No. 1 team to not even make the eight-team World Series after Arkansas in 2021 and UCLA in 2019 (the 2020 tournament was canceled). Contains 1 ranking. Because of the coronavirus epidemic).

“I think that’s what sticks with our guys when it’s time: they say time heals all wounds,” coach Tony Vitello said after losing the series. “I don’t know who they are.”

“Fifty-seven, that’s a lot,” he said of the team’s winning total, including the playoffs. “A good group of children. There are a couple crazy. “

Notre Dame returns to the College World Series for the first time in 20 years and for the third time overall.

Softball’s own superteam, Oklahoma, had no such problems, finishing last week’s 59-3 season with a women’s college World Series victory.

Of the six teams that advance to the baseball World Series as of Monday, there is no better team than the No. 5 seed. No. 2 Stanford and no. 3 Oregon State were seen as potential favorites, but they faced Monday night single-elimination games to advance to the last two.

Many Tennessee players go on to professional careers: three of them expected to move into the first round of Major League Baseball’s 2022 Draft next month: Tidwell and Outfielders Drew Gilbert and Jordan Beck.

But turning the pro does not make him a College World Series winner. And Tennessee is still looking for its first title.

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