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No. 1 national seed Tennessee got knocked out of the NCAA baseball tournament on the same day Mississippi, the last team selected, punched its ticket to the College World Series.
Sunday produced the biggest surprises of a tournament that went mostly according to form in the regional round. Super regionals have made up for that lack of drama.
Notre Dame beat Tennessee 7-3 in the deciding third game of their super regional and joined Ole Miss, Oklahoma, Arkansas, Texas and Texas A&M in the CWS. The final two CWS spots will be filled Monday when Connecticut plays No. 2 Stanford and Auburn meets No. 3 Oregon State in Game 3s. The CWS begins Friday in Omaha, Nebraska.
Tennessee is the third straight No. 1 national seed to get eliminated in super regionals. Arkansas was bounced last year and UCLA was in 2019. There was no tournament in 2020 because of the pandemic.
“Notre Dame will get to Omaha and enjoy that and probably do some damage,” Vols coach Tony Vitello said. “It’s a really tough group. What needs to stick with our guys, once time passes … What do they say? Time heals all wounds? I don’t know who ‘they’ are, because sometimes those take a long time.”
Until Sunday, the Volunteers were the toast of college baseball, with an explosive offense and a pitching staff stocked with projected major leaguers. They finished with a school-record 57 wins after getting out to a 31-1 start and sweeping the SEC regular-season and tournament titles. Their 158 homers were fourth most all time in Division I. They lost just one three-game series before the super regional in Knoxville.