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Kansas natives set to compete at College World Series

WICHITA, Kan. (KSNW) — There are eight teams left in the college baseball NCAA Tournament, and all are set to compete in Omaha, Nebraska, this weekend at Charles Schwab Field.

Those eight teams are Tennessee, Kentucky, Texas A&M, North Carolina, North Carolina State, Florida State, Florida and Virginia. There are three Kansas natives who will play in the tournament.

Dylan Dreiling (Hays) is an outfielder for Tennessee, Garrett Pennington (Lenexa) is an infielder for North Carolina State, who actually transferred there after a two-year stint at Wichita State, and Jake Titus (Ottawa) is a right-handed pitcher for Kentucky.

Fondly titled “The Greatest Show on Dirt,” the College World Series will start on Friday, June 14 and will go through June 24. The games will air on the ESPN family of networks.

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Dylan Dreiling

Tennessee outfielder Dylan Dreiling (8) waits for a pitch during an NCAA regional baseball game against Northern Kentucky on Friday, May 31, 2024, in Knoxville, Tenn. (AP Photo/Wade Payne)
Tennessee outfielder Dylan Dreiling (8) waits for a pitch during an NCAA regional baseball game against Northern Kentucky on Friday, May 31, 2024, in Knoxville, Tenn. (AP Photo/Wade Payne)

Dylan Dreiling has been a nightmare for opposing pitchers in his two seasons with the Tennessee Volunteers. The Hays native is third on the team in home runs with 20 and fourth on the team in batting average, hitting .320 on the season. He’s knocked in 65 RBI on the season as well.

Ahead of the SEC Tournament this season, Tennessee head coach Tony Vitello commended Dreiling’s progression since arriving in Knoxville.

“If you just talk about from day one, he’s always shown the ability to hit,” Vitello said. “It’s been more about adding the physicality, which they are in the weight room now. He’s very strong. He has put in a lot of work to do so. He’s such a better base runner than he was when he first got here and has become something that is more than reliable in the outfield for us.”

This is actually Dreiling’s second season in a row advancing to the College World Series as well. Last season, Tennessee went 1-2 in Omaha, its only losses coming to eventual National Champion LSU.

Garrett Pennington

North Carolina State’s Garrett Pennington (33) runs to first base during an NCAA baseball game on Friday, March 8, 2024, in Raleigh, N.C. (AP Photo/Ben McKeown)
North Carolina State’s Garrett Pennington (33) runs to first base during an NCAA baseball game on Friday, March 8, 2024, in Raleigh, N.C. (AP Photo/Ben McKeown)

Wichita State fans know Garrett Pennington’s name from his two years with the Shockers, and now he’s on college baseball’s biggest stage with North Carolina State.

Pennington, a native of Lenexa, has provided a consistently strong bat for the Wolfpack this season, batting .348 with 18 home runs and 64 RBI.

He was especially needed in the Super Regional series against Georgia. In that three-game series, he hit two home runs and drove in three runs total to help the Wolfpack advance to their first College World Series appearance since 2021.

“Honestly, it’s a surreal moment for everybody,” Pennington said Tuesday. “We were all talking about it once the game was over. It doesn’t even feel like anything other than another series like we’ve been doing all year. Then it starts hitting you … it’s the greatest opportunity on dirt.”

Jake Titus

Jake Titus, a native of Ottawa, hasn’t factored much into Kentucky’s run to Omaha, as he’s only appeared in three games and pitched 2.2 innings in relief this season.

In those three appearances, he’s given up a total of six earned runs and struck out two batters.

It’s worth noting Titus is only a freshman and has another three years to develop before his college days are done. Coming out of high school, he was ranked the No. 9 player in the state of Kansas.

In addition to pitching, Titus played third base and first base to help lead Ottawa High School to a regional title in 2022.

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