OMAHA, Neb. (AP) — Tennessee’s Dylan Dreiling hit the go-ahead homer in the seventh inning and Nate Snead turned back a scoring threat by Texas A&M in the bottom of the ninth to force a deciding third game of the College World Series finals with a 4-1 victory Sunday.

One of the teams will win its first national title in baseball and become the fifth straight champion from the Southeastern Conference when they meet Monday night.

Dreiling sent freshman Kaiden Wilson’s 1-1 pitch 390 feet into the right-field seats to give the Vols (59-13) a much-needed jolt after Texas A&M pitchers had held their prodigious offense to four hits.

To that point, the Vols had been 2 for 20 with runners in scoring position over the first two games of the finals and Texas A&M had not trailed in any of its CWS games.

Tennessee built a three-run cushion when Cal Stark, its No. 9 batter, homered in the eighth. He had been 0 for 16 with nine strikeouts in the CWS before he launched a pitch from Wilson over the left-field bullpen.

Snead, who earned his sixth save, was called on after the Aggies’ first two batters singled in the bottom of the ninth. He got a groundout and flyout before Kavares Tears went to the warning track to catch pinch-hitter Ryan Targac’s fly that stayed in the park with the help of the wind blowing in.

The Vols, who lost the finals opener 9-5 Saturday, haven’t dropped consecutive games since March 16-17 at Alabama. They are trying to become the first No. 1 national seed to win the national title since Miami in 1999.

Jace LaViolette’s team-leading 29th homer of the season, 50th of his career and first of the CWS put the Aggies up 1-0 in the first inning. It also was the first RBI in five games for LaViolette, who has been playing on a sore right hamstring.

The Aggies had only one runner reach second against Drew Beam before Aaron Combs (3-1) took over with no outs in the fifth. They had runners on second and third with two outs in the sixth, but Combs worked out of that by getting Ted Burton to fly out.

Tennessee picked off two runners at first. Beam got Kaeden Kent in the third inning and Stark, the catcher, fired the ball to Blake Burke to get Ali Camarillo to end the fifth. Kent and Camarillo initially were ruled safe, but the calls were overturned after video reviews. Stark’s pickoff was his seventh of the year.

Aggies coach Jim Schlossnagle, having won Saturday, decided to make it a bullpen day in order to save Justin Lamkin for a possible Game 3. Lampkin has thrown eight shutout innings over two CWS starts.

Zane Badmaev found out Sunday morning he would make his second career start — and first since 2020, when he was at then-Division II Tarleton State. The 6-foot-8, 278-pound Badmaev was lifted for Chris Cortez after he gave up a single leading off the second inning.

Tennessee loaded the bases in the third and fourth innings against Cortez, but couldn’t push a run across. Cortez left in the sixth after he issued a four-pitch walk. An athletic trainer went to the mound to check on Cortez, whose right hand and forearm appeared to be bothering him. Cortez allowed two hits, walked five and struck out seven in 4 1/3 innings.

Wilson (0-2) came on and coaxed Stark’s inning-ending double play, but he couldn’t hold off the nation’s top home run-hitting team in the seventh and eighth.

Dreiling’s homer was his 22nd of the season and second of the CWS. Stark went deep for the 11th time. Tennessee has 182 homers for the year, six behind the 1997 LSU team’s NCAA record of 188.


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