Curley’s Near Cycle Carries Vols Past Kansas State

Photo by University of Tennessee Athletics (@Vol_Baseball on X)

By Gabriel Daniel

KNOXVILLE, Tenn- No. 8 Tennessee rolled to its eleventh consecutive victory with a 15-5 win over Kansas State Tuesday night. 

The Vols (12-1) dominated the Wildcats (7-4), who were ranked in the top 25 just last week. 

The story of the night was the play of shortstop Dean Curley. 

The freshman out of La Verne, California didn’t see a pitch he couldn’t hit, getting three hits in five at bats. 

Oh, and all three of those hits were home runs.

In fact, if Curley’s deep fly ball to right field in the eighth inning carried a few more feet for a solo home run, he would have hit a rare home run cycle. Curley hit a grand slam, three-run home run, and two-run home run in that order.

Curley has caught on quickly in his freshman season at Tennessee, getting his first start against ETSU where he earned three RBIs. Curley continued to show his worth with a three-run home run against Albany. 

“ Just seeing the ball well, being on time, not trying to do too much, and just hitting the ball well,” said Curley. 

After falling down two runs in the first, the Vols quickly turned it around thanks to a Dylan Dreiling home run. 

But it was the third inning where Tennessee really blew the game open. Christian Moore and Billy Amick each had home runs and Curley had one of his three with a grand slam. 

“The fact that he hit it to the deepest to the deepest part of the park is pretty wild, he’s a guy who is pretty explosive and kind of seems to have a flair for the dramatic too,” said coach Tony Vitello. 

While the offense was hot throughout the game, Tennessee pitching had an up and down outing.  

Aaron Combs got the start up and gave up three hits and walked two batters in two innings. Nate Snead got the win while giving up four runs and walking three batters in four innings. 

Overall, Tennessee is in a much different spot this season than it was last year. 

At this point last season, many of the issues that would plague the Vols throughout the season had already popped up, including inconsistent base running and boom or bust performances from the bats. But this year these issues have not revealed themselves. 

One of the reasons for the improvement has been the new talent added to the roster. Junior transfer Billy Amick has been a revelation for Tennessee. The Clemson transfer leads the team in hits, is toward the top of the SEC in home runs, RBIs, slugging percentage, and is coming off SEC player of the week honors. 

Up next, Tennessee takes on Southern Indiana on Wednesday at Lindsey Nelson Stadium with first pitch set for 6:00 p.m. ET. The game will once again air on SEC Network Plus.