A pair of Tennessee baseball players will return for second senior season

Photo by Caleb Jones/Tennessee Athletics

Tennessee Baseball’s Redmond Walsh and Luc Lipcius will return for a final season, Vols head coach Tony Vitello announced Wednesday.

Both players can return for another season due to the NCAA’s COVID-19 eligibility waiver which gave every college baseball player in 2020 an additional year of eligibility due to the season being cut short. .

Walsh, a left-handed relief pitcher, will begin his fifth season in Vol next spring.

“Redmond is 100%,” Vitello said Wednesday. “It was a difficult scene to recreate in words, but when the younger ones saw it, because it was kind of in limbo. When you get older, you have to start making adult decisions. The most young people were thrilled when they saw that was what was going to happen when he stood up in a meeting.

The Alcoa, Tenn. native has been one of the Vols’ most reliable relievers since Vitello took over. In 2019, Walsh posted a 1.38 ERA while recording nine saves in the main Vols close.

That role passed to Sean Hunley after Walsh struggled to open the SEC game in 2021. After dropping the cutter he was trying to develop, Walsh’s elite shift and reliable throw returned. The left-handed soft pitcher posted a 2.52 ERA and five saves in 39.1 innings.

Photo Credit: Tennessee Athletics

Lipcius is returning for his sixth season at Tennessee in 2022. The first baseman has been battling injuries for much of his first three years at Knoxville but has had a strong season after staying healthy this season.

“Luc is 100% academically,” Vitello said. “Put everything in order. He is already preparing things. Redmond will definitely be a leader, but Evan Russell and Luc Lipcius – I’ve teased them a bit already – every little competition we have or the fall World Series, they’ll be two different teams and go their separate ways. We will see who is the best ‘captain’.

The Virginia native hit .240 with 15 home runs and 42 RBIs in 67 games played.

Luke’s twin brother, Andre, was a star third baseman for Tennessee from 2017 to 2019 before being selected in the MLB draft.

The 6-foot-2 southpaw is also a solid defender having been named an ABCA/Rawlings Gold Glove finalist in 2021 with dependable play.

Lipcius returns to Tennessee for a final season after being drafted in the 2021 MLB Draft in 20 rounds.

The return of the first baseman gives Tennessee some stability in an infield that loses four starters to Max Ferguson, Liam Spence, Jake Rucker and Connor Pavolony.

The duo join Evan Russell as 2021 seniors taking advantage of NCAA eligibility relief. The trio should provide leadership and experience to a revamped Tennessee roster that’s brimming with talent.

“The biggest thing with this is guys like him (Russell) and Luc being available to say here’s what worked last year or the year before. It is our brand name. It’s our flavor. And when he (Vitello) says that, that’s what he means or the coaches might not even have to say it. They introduce him to these guys. It’s a big part of their comeback.

If the team’s chemistry can fit in like last season — which Vitello mentioned as a main issue heading into 2022 — the Vols could be destined for another deep run in the playoffs.

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