Although the 2023 college baseball season didn’t begin the way the University of Tennessee envisioned, the Volunteers are back to where they thought they’d be in June.
The Volunteers, a consensus top five team heading into the season, went 38-19 prior to the NCAA Tournament, a far cry from the domination expected from the Vols but still a decent enough record to get an at-large bid.
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Tennessee was the second seed of the Clemson regional, entering as an unranked team. The Tigers, meanwhile, earned hosting privileges as the No. 4 national seed.
UT ending up going 3-0 in the Clemson regional to advance, including a 6-5 victory over the hosts in a marathon 14-inning game on Saturday. From there, Clemson suffered a shocking elimination loss to Charlotte, having its 2023 campaign come to an end at 44-19. Entering NCAA Regionals, the Tigers had won 17 games in a row before losing to Ahuna and Tennessee.
Tennessee beat Charlotte twice to advance to the best-of-three super regionals. Ahuna started at shortstop and led off all three games for the Vols, going 3-for-15 from the plate with two RBIs and two runs, scoring the go-ahead run in Saturday’s dramatic win over Clemson. The Hilo alumnus also anchored a defense that did not commit an error all weekend.
Tennessee awaits the winner of the Auburn regional, which is down to Southern Mississippi and Pennsylvania. Because neither team is seeded, the winner, along with Tennessee, will discover which team is hosting the Super Regional on Tuesday. It is likely Ahuna and Tennessee end up hosting, though it is not guaranteed.