GREENEVILLE, Tenn. (WJHL) – A pair of college baseball national powers played in front of a sellout crowd on Sunday afternoon in Pioneer Park.
Fans from across the region showed up to support Tennessee and Virginia Tech, as they clashed in the 2023 Hokie-Smokey Baseball Classic.
The Big Orange jumped out to an early 2-0 advantage in the first inning. Charlie Taylor made a break for home plate on a weak ground ball in the second inning, looking to extend the lead. However, the Hokies defense was up to the task, as he was thrown out at the plate.
Dylan Dreiling doubled the Vols’ scoring with one swing in the third, as he crushed a two-run line drive blast over the wall in right-center field.
Northeast Tennessee’s own Kirby Connell came in to pitch in the fourth inning, registering a strikeout for UT. But, Virginia Tech plated four runs in the sixth inning to draw the game back even, 4-4.
Chris Cannizzaro put VT in front with a two-run shot of his own in the seventh inning, giving the Hokies a 6-5 edge. However, a three-spot in the eighth inning from Tennessee helped secure an 8-6 victory in nine innings.
Vols’ first baseman Blake Burke went 3-for-5 with an RBI in the first nine innings, while third baseman Billy Amick, the Clemson transfer, was 3-for-3 with 4 RBI and two runs scored.
Cannizzaro scored two runs and clubbed two hits for the Hokies, while Gehrig Ebel posted a pair of hits and an RBI.
The two teams agreed to play nine more innings, with the Vols coming out with a 14-8 lead at the conclusion of play.