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Baseball: Three Tennessee Volunteers named unanimous All-Americans

Syndication: The Knoxville News-Sentinel Jamar Coach/News Sentinel / USA TODAY NETWORK

The Tennessee Volunteers had one heckuva season on the baseball diamond. While it ended sooner than expected and the loss to Notre Dame in the Super Regional was a disappointing way to close out the incredible, record-breaking 2022 season as a whole, the Vols baseball team has nothing to be ashamed about heading into the offseason and preparing for 2023.

Finishing the season 57-9 (25-5 in the SEC) and holding the top spot in the rankings since April, Tony Vitello’s Vols took college baseball by storm. Chase Dollander, Drew Gilbert, and Trey Lipscomb all played major roles in Tennessee’s dominance throughout the season. For that, they were named unanimous All-Americans at season’s end.

RHP Chase Dollander

  • SEC Pitcher of the Year
  • First-Team All-SEC
  • First-Team All-American (ABCA, Collegiate Baseball, D1Baseball.com, NCBWA, Perfect Game)
  • Second-Team All-American (Baseball America)

OF Drew Gilbert

  • First-Team All-SEC
  • SEC All-Defensive Team
  • First-Team All-American (NCBWA)
  • Second-Team All-American (ABCA, Baseball America, Collegiate Baseball, Perfect Game)
  • Third-Team All-American (D1Baseball.com)

3B Trey Lipscomb

  • First-Team All-SEC
  • First-Team All-American (NCBWA)
  • Second-Team All-American (ABCA, Baseball America, Collegiate Baseball)
  • Third-Team All-American (D1Baseball.com, Perfect Game)

Dollander had quite the debut season in Knoxville, I’d say. After transferring to Tennessee following one season at Georgia Southern, the right-hander was absolutely dominant on the mound, posting a perfect 10-0 record and 2.39 ERA. He had 108 strikeouts in 79 innings (14 starts, 16 games). Opponents had just a .175 batting average against Dollander. Although the sophomore missed time in April after being struck in his right elbow by a line drive, Dollander played a crucial role in Tennessee’s success all season, especially down the stretch.

A fan favorite known for his energetic attitude and incredible bat flips, there’s a reason Tennessee fans loved Gilbert while he seemingly continued to get under the skin of opponents. The more home runs he hit, the more he flipped his bat, the more the Volunteers won. In what will likely be his third (and final) season in Knoxville, Gilbert posted a .362/.455/.673 (1.128 OPS) slash line with 11 home runs, 21 doubles, four triples, 70 RBI, 60 runs, and four stolen bases in 58 games. The 5-foot-9, 185-pound centerfielder seemed to pack a punch, both in terms of his attitude and his energy, making him the spark plug of Tennessee’s offense throughout much of the season.

Last but certainly not least, Lipscomb’s patience (finally) paid off. After totaling just 17 hits, two home runs, and 19 RBI during his first three years in Knoxville, the third baseman had quite the final season. As a senior, Lipscomb led the team in hits (89), home runs (22), and RBI (84) while also having a .355/.428/.717 (1.145 OPS) slash line. He went from barely being able to start games during his first three seasons as a Vol to starting 66 games and becoming one of college baseball’s most dangerous hitters during his fourth (and final) season at Tennessee.

The Volunteers had a lethal offense in large part due to the one-two punch that consisted of Gilbert and Lipscomb. Tennessee also had a dominant pitching staff that was led by Dollander. It’s nice to see that college baseball recognized the three players for their dominance throughout the season.

Here’s to hoping the Volunteers can build off of this past season and continue their winning ways into next season (and beyond). Vitello will have to prove that he can reload (instead of rebuild) the talent that he will lose this offseason, both to graduation and the MLB Draft. I have a feeling that he will and the Vols will be just fine.