Friday, March 31, 2023
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BREAKING: Tennessee baseball coach Tony Vitello reinstated

That didn’t last long. Tennessee baseball head coach Tony Vitello was reinstated on Monday after serving a three-game suspension over the weekend as the Vols swept Dayton.

Vitello’s suspension was announced suddenly Friday afternoon. The public release made it clear that the suspension was not levied by the NCAA and was enacted by the university in conjunction with Vitello.

UT also confirmed that shortstop Maui Ahuna, who transferred from Kansas, will be available this week when the Vols host Charleston Southern on Tuesday. Ahuna had been held out this season, reportedly because of a transfer issue.

Here is the statement released by Tennessee on Monday:

The Vols will play Charleston Southern on Tuesday and Wednesday. Then, Tennessee will play a three-game series against Gonzaga this weekend.

Vitello served a four-game suspension last year after “bumping” an umpire. He also received a two-game suspension in 2018 stemming from an argument over a balk call.

This suspension was imposed by the university due to an NCAA violation. Whether or not it means the Vols are out of the woods with the violation remains to be seen, but according to 247Sports, it stemmed from Ahuna’s lack of eligibility.

Now that Ahuna is eligible, you have to think the Vols aren’t in too much more trouble with the NCAA. However, that institution is notoriously inconsistent with the way it doles out punishments, so only time will tell. The football program knows that all too well.

With Vitello back, Ahuna ready to go and the team having righted the ship with a sweep this past weekend, Tennessee baseball should finally begin to approach the level everybody expected of them in the preseason.

SEC play is less than three weeks away, and the Vols need time to figure out their lineup with so much new talent. Pitching, as was expected, seems fine to this point.

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