Remember last June when Tennessee soared into the College World Series with five consecutive victories, including a 15-6 rout of LSU, and a whopping 50 wins overall?
Remember also when the Volunteers were abruptly derailed in Omaha by essentially one person?
That person is now a member of the Chattanooga Lookouts.
Former Virginia pitcher Andrew Abbott, who racked up 10 strikeouts in six innings during a 6-0 blanking of the Vols, was promoted to Class AA this week following his sensational start to the season with the high Single-A Dayton (Ohio) Dragons. Abbott's 10 strikeouts at Tennessee's expense set a Virginia record during a College World Series game.
"Tennessee really has a special lineup and a special coach, and they've had a special year," Abbott said afterward. "I got in a little more jams than I would like in the game to make it interesting. The first inning was mainly just trying to get used to the fans.
"There are 22,000 of them here, and that's something not every player is used to in college."
Vols coach Tony Vitello certainly was impressed, exclaiming, "Andrew Abbott was outstanding."
Abbott is scheduled to start Saturday night's game against the Mississippi Braves at the 6,340-seat AT&T Field, which could be close to capacity given that a used car will be given away and that the inflatable Zooperstars are performing.
Three weeks after his performance against Tennessee, the 6-foot, 180-pound left-hander from South Boston, Virginia, was selected in the second round by the Cincinnati Reds, who promptly signed him for $1.3 million. His senior season in Charlottesville had contained a 9-6 record and a 2.87 earned run average with 162 strikeouts in 106 innings.
His 2022 season with the Dragons has been even better, as Abbott racked up a 3-0 record with an 0.67 ERA, having tallied 40 strikeouts in 27 innings.
Abbott, known more for his command than his power, joins the top pick of the Reds from last June — Matt McLain. The former shortstop of the UCLA Bruins entered Wednesday night's matchup with Mississippi hitting .260 through 27 games with six doubles, three triples, eight home runs and 23 RBIs.
Contact David Paschall at email@example.com.