It was a homecoming of sorts for three former Tennessee Volunteers as they participated in a home run contest prior to the annual Orange and White baseball game at Lindsey Nelson Stadium.
Major League batting champion and Colorado Rockies' first baseman Todd Helton was on hand, along with Tampa Bay Devil Rays' catcher Mike DiFelice and Minnesota Twins' pitcher Mike Lincoln to take part in the home run contest. Joining the professionals were three current Vols in Dan Wilson, Brandon Hopkins and Jeff Christiansen.
It turned out to be a three-man race in the preliminaries as Helton wowed the crowd by hitting eight consecutive home runs to lead all hitters and advance to the finals. Wilson outslugged Christiansen, 6-5, to face Helton. DiFelice hit three, Hopkins hit one, while Lincoln went homerless. The collegians were using aluminum bats while the professionals used wood.
In the finals, Wilson knocked seven out of the park to Helton's four to take the home run contest title. Helton had won the contest the two previous times he competed (1997 and 1998).
After the contest, Stevie Daniel went 2-for-4 with a home run, while Dan Wilson doubled twice and drove in two runs as the Orange team edged the White team 9-8.
Christensen went 3-for-4 with a home run and three RBI, while Kris Bennett added two RBI to pace the White team.
Brandon Crowe was not only the winning pitcher, but drove home the winning run in the bottom of the ninth on a fielders choice with one out. Erik Filsinger suffered the loss for the White team.
Trailing 2-1 in the third, the Orange team broke out with four runs , keyed by Wilson's two-run double to take a 5-2 lead.
The White team battled back with a single run in the fifth and two in the seventh and eighth innings before tying the game at 8-8 in the ninth on Justin Parker's sacrifice fly.
The Volunteers will be back in action when they open the 2001 season at the State Farm Classic in Charleston, S.C., against the Old Dominion Monarchs. The home opener is Feb. 23 against the Dayton Flyers.