Rockies pick UT’s Dollander at No. 9

Published 3:27 pm Tuesday, July 11, 2023

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For the third time in the last four years, Tennessee baseball had a player selected in the first round of the MLB Draft, as pitcher Chase Dollander was taken with the No. 9 overall pick by the Colorado Rockies on Sunday night.

Dollander became the 19th first-round pick in program history and the fourth under head coach Tony Vitello and his staff, including the second pitcher to go in the first round during that time, joining Garrett Crochet (No. 11 in 2020).

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No Tennessee player has been drafted higher than Dollander during Vitello’s tenure, as the Georgia native became the first Vol picked in the top 10 since Nick Senzel went No. 2 overall in 2016. Dollander is also the highest-drafted pitcher straight out of college in program history. A highly-decorated performer during his two seasons at Tennessee, Dollander posted a 17-6 record and a 3.64 earned run average during his career with the Vols. The junior right hander posted back-to-back seasons with 100-plus strikeouts, finishing with 228 during his two years with the Big Orange, which ranks ninth in program history. He also held opponents to a .212 batting average in 33 appearances (31 starts).

On top of earning consensus first-team All-America honors in 2022, Dollander became just the second player in program history to earn Southeastern Conference Pitcher of  Year recognition after posting a perfect 10-0 record and an NCAA-best 0.80 WHIP to go along with a 2.39 ERA.

Dollander recorded seven more victories in 2023 to help lead the Vols to their second Men’s College World Series appearance in three years. He was also named a College Sports Communicators Academic All-American, becoming just the ninth player and second pitcher in UT history to earn such honors. Luke Hochevar was selected with the 40th pick in the 2005 MLB Draft but did not sign and played one season of independent league pro ball before being taken with the first overall pick of the 2006 draft.