Late Comeback Bid Falls Short in Loss to No. 5 LSU in CWS Opener
OMAHA, Neb. – A late-inning comeback attempt by Tennessee fell short in its 2023 Men’s College World Series opener as the Volunteers fell to No. 5 national seed LSU, 6-3, on Saturday night in front of a sellout crowd of 25,010 at Charles Schwab Field in Omaha. After trailing 5-0 going into the eighth, UT struck for three runs in the top half of the inning to cut the deficit to two. Christian Scott raced home on an RBI single by Maui Ahuna to get the Vols on the board before Hunter Ensley homered to left-center field to make it 5-3. Ensley had a fantastic night at the plate, going 3-for-4 with a run and two RBIs, including two of the team’s five hits against LSU ace Paul Skenes. The junior right hander gave up two runs over 7.2 innings with 12 strikeouts while giving up just five hits and one walk to pick up the win. Tennessee starter Andrew Lindsey was stuck with the loss after allowing two runs on five hits over 3.2 innings, finishing with four strikeouts and one walk issued. Griffin Merritt and Scott had the only other hits for the Big Orange off of Skenes with a single in the fifth and a double in the eighth. Scott’s one-out double to spark UT’s eighth-inning rally was the first time Skenes and LSU allowed a runner to advance past first base. Aaron Combs, Seth Halvorsen, Kirby Connell, Camden Sewell, Hollis Fanning and AJ Russell all saw action in relief, combining to pitch the final 4.1 innings. Sewell’s appearance makes him the first player in program history to play in two separate College World Series. The veteran right hander appeared in both games during UT’s 2021 trip to Omaha against Virginia and Texas. Brayden Jobert led LSU at the dish with three extra-base hits, two runs and two RBIs, finishing a single short of the cycle. Gavin Dugas opened the scoring with a solo home run to left field in second inning while Tre’ Morgan also had a hit and a pair of RBIs for the Tigers.
Awaka Set to Represent Team USA at FIBA U19 World Cup in Hungary COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. – Tennessee basketball sophomore Tobe Awaka was named to the 2023 USA Basketball U19 National Team Friday. The physical forward made the 12-man roster after being among 35 elite players invited to take part in training camp. Awaka will travel with Team USA from Colorado Springs to Hungary, where the FIBA U19 World Cup will be contested June 24-July 2. The Hyde Park, New York, native is one of only two SEC players on the U.S. roster, joining incoming Vanderbilt transfer Ven-Allen Lubin. Awaka led the Vols in offensive rebounding vs. league opponents (1.83 orpg) as a freshman last season, logging double-figure scoring twice on the year. He tallied a career-high 11 rebounds in Tennessee’s win over Austin Peay on December 21, 2022. Tennessee redshirt freshman Freddie Dilione V also was a Team USA training camp participant. He advanced through multiple rounds of cuts before being one of the final two players trimmed from the roster. Along with the USA and host Hungary, teams taking part in the FIBA U19 Men’s World Cup are Argentina, Canada, Egypt, Korea, Madagascar, Slovenia, Turkey, Brazil, China, France, Japan, Lebanon, Serbia and Spain.
The USA was drawn into Group B, alongside Lebanon, Madagascar and Slovenia for the June 24-27 FIBA U19 World Cup preliminary round. The USA will open play against Madagascar on June 24, followed by Slovenia on June 25 and close preliminary play against Lebanon on June 27. The USA will face off against Lebanon and Madagascar for the first time at a 2023 FIBA Men’s U19 World Cup, owning a 2-0 record against Slovenia at the U19 World Cup. The United States has won the competition eight times, including three of the last four events—in 2015, 2019 and 2021. Former Tennessee point guard and 2022 NBA Draft pick Kennedy Chandler was a member of the gold-medal-winning U.S. squad in 2021. Current Vol Josiah-Jordan James has experience winning international gold with USA Basketball. James was a member of the United States’ gold-medal-winning team at the 2018 FIBA Americas U18 Championship.
Lady Vols Roll Past Rome All-Stars, 100-48
ROME, Italy – Junior forward Sara Puckett and super senior forward Rickea Jackson led five players in double figures, as the Tennessee women’s basketball team rolled to a 100-48 victory over the Rome All-Stars Thursday night at EuroBasket Roma Arena. Puckett drained 11 of 16 shots from the field, including four-of-six accuracy beyond the arc, to tally 28 points along with 11 rebounds. Jackson also registered a double-double, tossing in 19 points and collecting a game-high 12 caroms. Junior forward Jillian Hollingshead chipped in 11 points, while senior guard/forward Tess Darby and sophomore guard/forward Avery Strickland contributed 10 each. Just as things happened on Tuesday night, everyone scored and contributed to the win. Super senior point guard Jasmine Powell rang up nine assists on the evening and grabbed six rebounds to go along with her two points. Junior forward Karoline Striplin finished with seven points and eight rebounds, while junior guard Kaiya Wynn added six points and six rebounds, and sophomore guard Edie Darby was good for six points and four assists, helping the Lady Vols tally 25 dimes for the game vs. only six turnovers. UT essentially put the game away in the first quarter, outscoring the hosts, 25-11, with Puckett and Jackson each registering seven points apiece during that frame. An 18-15 edge in the second stanza sent the visitors into the break with a 43-26 cushion. The Big Orange was even better after the intermission, outpointing the Rome squad 57-22 over the final 20 minutes, including a 31-7 blistering in the final period. On the evening, Tennessee held a 57-34 advantage on the glass, tallying 21 offensive rebounds while surrendering only five to the Rome All-Stars. Following a 55-35 edge on Tuesday night, the Lady Vols combined to control the boards during this trip by a 112 to 69 count. UT knocked down 13 three-pointers in the contest in 34 attempts, with Jackson (3), Tess Darby (2), Edie Darby (2) and Strickland (2) joining Puckett in the long-distance shooting fun. Seven of their treys came in the fourth quarter, somehow indicating fresh legs despite two games in three days and the early part of Thursday spent visiting The Vatican, including the Sistine Chapel and St. Peter’s Basilica. Tennessee completes its competition on this trip with a 2-0 record. The Lady Vols are
now 25-9 in 11 visits to foreign countries. That includes a 19-7 mark in exhibition-type contests and an 8-2 resume in countable games during the regular season. The Lady Vols depart for Sorrento on Friday morning with a stop in Pompeii along the way. After spending three nights in the southern part of Italy, the Lady Vols will make their way to Athens, Greece, before returning home on June 22.