It’s now official — Chase Burns will leave the Tennessee baseball program. The electric right hander announced late on Wednesday night that he will be joining Wake Forest after a long stay in the transfer portal.
The transfer portal closes today (July 13th) so it’s safe to say this one went down to the wire.
Wake Forest spent a good chunk of last season as the No. 1 team in the nation, landing the No. 1 overall seed in the NCAA Tournament. They were eventually taken out by LSU, but they reload here, grabbing one of the best available arms in the portal.
Burns started the year in Tennessee’s rotation looking to build off of a stellar freshman season. However, he found a sophomore slump instead. Burns was eventually pulled from the weekend rotation, and Tony Vitello installed him in a bullpen role. That decision apparently set the ball in motion for him to move on from Knoxville.
Credit Vitello, though. Tennessee’s season turned around following this move as Andrew Lindsey came in an offered stability on Friday nights. Burns, meanwhile, flourished in his bullpen role. The flamethrower became a weapon for Vitello late in the year, touching triple digits in long relief spots. He was simply brilliant against Clemson and Stanford, powering the Volunteers to their two biggest wins of the season.
The mid-state native now heads east to Wake Forest, where he’ll undoubtedly become a starter once again. He could have had the same chance to do that at Tennessee, which makes this situation all the more frustrating.
“It’s pretty straight forward,” Vitello said on The Sports Animal, reacting to Burns entering the transfer portal. “We’ve kind of known that he would be gone for awhile.
“This season went in a lot of different ways and as coaches we have to do what we think is best for the whole group and find a way to try and win games. In the end, I think that worked out fairly well. But for his case, he’s going to take his efforts somewhere else. It’s been a deal where he’s done more than a lot for the program. Not just last year, and of course this year, too.”
More than likely, Burns will spend a year with Wake Forest and become a first round draft pick in 2024.