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Tennessee baseball: Maui Ahuna was worth the wait for the Diamond Vols.

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Tennessee transfer shortstop Maui Ahuna laced a ball to the left field wall in his first at-bat wearing orange and white. It wasn’t a “lively night” on Tuesday against Charleston Southern, and the ball got caught at the warning track. 

Two at-bats later, Ahuna picked up his first career hit as a Vol. Likely, the first of many for the highly touted transfer. A hit that grew his hit streak to 20, beginning from his time at Kansas.

“I probably needed to not act like a three-year-old,” Tennessee head coach Tony Vitello said. “I thought that first one was going over the fence.”

Ahuna finally became eligible on Monday after a lot of conversations with the NCAA. He missed the Vols’ first eight games, but he is a piece they will need down the stretch. 

Ranked as the No. 22 MLB Pipeline prospect, Ahuna showcased his pro-leve defense in his debut. Even from warm-ups, while ineligible and now, Ahuna just plays like a future MLB shortstop. 

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“He’s a really good defender,” Vitello said. “If you defend behind the plate or at short, anything you do with the bat is kind of a bonus.”

Ahuna doesn’t only bring defense to this Tennessee club though. His bat shined at Kansas last year and is really the reason he has gained so much attention. 

While a Jayhawk last year, Ahuna hit .396 with eight home runs and 48 RBIs. He also racked up 23 multi-hit days. 

Tennessee can use his bat. His replacement, Austen Jaslove, was solid in the field but his bat often left people wanting more. Jaslove will still have a role for this offense though as he hit .271 with six RBIs. 

While Ahuna hit six-hole on Tuesday, he will most likely end up first or second in this lineup. Vitello doesn’t like to hit lefties back-to-back, so Ahuna’s left-handed bat has to find a spot. 

With Ahuna on the diamond and Vitello in the dugout, the Vols are getting back on track. 

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