Next for Vols: Matter of perspective

Marvin Westwestwords

UPDATE: Game time delayed to 4 p.m. per Nick McBride

What we have coming Wednesday in the College World Series (starting at 3, ESPN) is a matter of perspective.

Undefeated Tennessee, one win from the championship series, is locked and loaded, ready to deliver the knockout punch. Florida State, survivor from the losers’ bracket, can duck or run.

Or, the No. 1 Volunteers face an emotional mismatch and might be shocked by what is about to happen. Be sure the Seminoles eagerly await their second shot at the Volunteers. They thought they deserved to win the opening round.

Florida State people still can’t see how the third-base umpire didn’t see what they saw so clearly. That so-called checked swing might have been a double if Blake Burke had hit the ball.

A Tallahassee fan sent “absolute proof” and said his photo is mighty motivation for FSU.

Yeah, yeah, we’ve heard all that for three days.

The Seminoles knocked out North Carolina on Tuesday (6/18/24). They will again have their ace, Jamie Arnold, on the mound against the Vols. He wasn’t exactly great last time out. He pitched five innings, gave up eight hits and six runs, four earned. He walked four and struck out four

Tennessee coach Tony Vitello says he will open with Zander Sechrist, the crafty lefthander who disposed of ambitious Evansville under considerable pressure, with the trip to Omaha as the prize.

Oops, there is something else to worry about: Sechrist hasn’t pitched in 10 days. That means he is certainly well-rested – or rusty.

Sechrist has a 4-1 record with a 3.26 ERA in 17 starts this season. Vitello underscored the point that Zander helped pitch the Vols to Omaha.

“He’s logged a ton of innings for us in his career and has been a good leader and a good teammate … now it’s time for him to enjoy the opportunity to compete and for us to enjoy watching him compete.”

If Tennessee wins, it will advance to the final best-of-three series against the winner from bracket 2. Texas A&M is the leader at 2-0.

If Florida State defeats Tennessee, a final rematch would be played on Thursday. That winner would advance. The loser would go home. Experts wonder aloud if the Seminoles have enough pitching to knock off the Volunteers in back-to-back games.

Bonus question: Will Hunter Ensley, the center fielder who crashed into the wall making a spectacular catch on Sunday, be in the starting lineup?

Vitello didn’t say yes, no or maybe. He did say Hunter was in much better health on Tuesday than Monday.

Ensley says he had a leg injury but that he’s much improved.

“I’m willing to run into a wall for an out. I’ll take that trade any day.”

Marvin West welcomes comments or questions from readers. His address is


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