Down 3, Tennessee rallies for a wild MCWS victory over Florida St.

OMAHA, Neb. — Dylan Dreiling hit a game-winning single to left-center in the bottom of the ninth inning and Tennessee rallied from a three-run deficit to beat Florida State 12-11 in the Men's College World Series. on Friday.

The top-ranked Volunteers overcame sloppy defensive play and poor pitching, taking their high-powered offense another notch late to win their first MCWS opener in five appearances since 2001.

Tennessee (56-12) will play North Carolina in a Bracket 1 winners' game on Sunday night. Florida State (47-16) will face Virginia in an afternoon elimination game.

Christian Moore went 5-for-6 for the Volunteers and became the first player to hit for the cycle in the MCWS since Minnesota's Jerry Kindall did so against Mississippi in 1956.

Trailing 9-4 in the fifth inning, Tennessee overcame its largest deficit to win on the road or at a neutral site since coming back from five runs down to win at UC Irvine in 2017.

The Vols, in the MCWS for the second straight year and third in the last four, trailed 11-8 at the bottom of the ninth. Kavares Tears, who homered earlier, tripled the leadoff and scored on a sacrifice fly.

Moore came up to bat with two outs and a runner on base and was on his final strike against Brennen Oxford (2-1) when he doubled into the left field corner.

“It was a fight, me against him, hand to hand,” Moore said. “I guess I won that.”

That brought up Blake Burke, who delivered the tying single up the middle after he could have taken a break when third base umpire Shawn Rakos told Burke to control his swing on a two-strike pitch.

“It was a check swing and I didn't do it,” Burke said. “I kept fighting and that was the result.”

FSU coach Link Jarrett's body language in the dugout indicated he didn't agree with the check-swing decision. He did not directly address the postgame play. If the call had gone the other way, the game would have been over and FSU would have won.

“You saw the game,” he told reporters. “I need to rewatch every pitch in this game. There are factors in this that affect the outcome of the game and I can't tell from 90 feet away what was going on with some of the things that occurred. Every pitch is important in these games and “You saw the result.”

Burke advanced to second on Billy Amick's single off Oxford, and then Dreiling drove in the winning run on Connor Hults' second pitch.

Nate Snead (10-2), Tennessee's sixth pitcher, earned the victory after holding the Seminoles scoreless with a hit over the final 2⅓ innings.

Moore, the Vols' leadoff hitter and a projected top-15 pick in next month's amateur draft, began his big night with a triple, his first since 2022, to the gap in right-center in the first inning. . He doubled in the second, singled in the fourth and drove the ball 440 feet straight to center for his 33rd home run of the season leading off the bottom of the sixth.

“The whole game I tried to get on base and set the tone,” Moore said. “I didn't really know I did it, to be honest. [hit for the cycle]”.

The Vols' first win of the season came after a grueling first half of the game. They made three errors in a game for the second time this season. The three errors also tied his most in 21 MCWS games all-time. Tennessee pitchers combined to allow 13 hits, walk a season-high nine, and hit one batter.

The Vols came to Omaha with a school-record 173 home runs and an average of 9.2 runs per game for the season and 10.7 for the NCAA tournament. Burke said it was only a matter of time before the offense ramped up.

“We threw a lot of punches throughout the game,” he said, “and we hit the big shot in the ninth.”

Information from The Associated Press was used in this report.

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