The most anticipated off-season pickup for Tennessee baseball is finally ready to strap on his cleats and pick up a bat in an actual game.
Maui Ahuna has been ruled eligible immediately, according to various reports. The shortstop had been held up by either the NCAA or the University of Tennessee for an unknown issue with his transfer from Kansas. Ahuna confirmed the reports of his arrival on his Twitter account.
Ahuna was considered one of the best transfers in the NCAA when he left the Jayhawks. A first team All-Big 12 selection, Ahuna hit .396 with eight home runs and 48 RBI’s last season. Ahuna was held out of the first eight games this season as his eligibility was cleared up.
Ahuna’s eligibility issue seems to have affected Tennessee baseball head coach Tony Vitello, who was suspended for last weekend’s sweep against Dayton. Vitello’s suspension was sudden and more than a bit surprising when it was announced on Friday.
No clarification on the suspension was offered by UT other than it was not an NCAA suspension. However, GoVols247 reports that Vitello’s suspension stems from the Ahuna issue.
Throughout the first two weeks, Ahuna’s absence was noticeable. While Tennessee baseball is clearly benefitting from the return of so much talent on the pitching staff, the lineup has been inconsistent. That’s where Vitello had to replace so much talent.
Even last week against Dayton, the sweep was all about the arms, as the Vols allowed, two, one and no runs respectively in the three games. They only scored four runs on Saturday, though, and just six on Sunday.
The Vols host Charleston Southern on Tuesday and Wednesday before hosting Gonzaga for a weekend series. At 6-2, they are currently ranked third in the nation. SEC play for them begins in two and a half weeks.