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On anniversary of former player’s passing, Vols’ walk-off grand slam ‘divine intervention’

Tennessee baseball’s walk-off grand slam Friday was everything short of a spiritual experience for die-hard Vols fans. Considering how hard some have had to search to find silver linings draped in orange and white in recent years, Knoxville has been buzzing about baseball over the last few days.
Updated: Jun. 6, 2021 at 6:11 PM EDT
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KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (WVLT) - Tennessee baseball’s walk-off grand slam Friday was everything short of a spiritual experience for die-hard Vols fans. Considering how hard some have had to search to find silver linings draped in orange and white in recent years, Knoxville has been buzzing about baseball over the last few days.

It’s possible, though that the loudest cheers Friday night didn’t come from East Tennessee, but New England.

For the last 13 years, June 4th has been a difficult day for the Edgerton family. Patriarch Rob - who played left field for the Vols in the mid-seventies - was seemingly in the clear after months of chemo. Following an extended stay in the hospital after surgery, Rob went to bed that June evening for the final time.

“It’s not like you don’t remember your lost loved ones on other days but there is something about that day, it just sort of brings it all back,” says Rob’s son Brett - a fellow UT graduate who spent his childhood going to Vols sporting events with his dad.

“I was actually the last person to see him and we were up late in his hospital room watching baseball. We’re huge Cubs fans so we were up late on his laptop watching a Cubs-Padres game in San Diego. I just figured I’d see him the next day and he just never woke up,” said Brett.

So when Drew Gilbert’s moon shot sailed off into the Knoxville night, Brett’s thoughts immediately went to his late father.

“I’m not so naive to think that it must have all been about me - clearly it’s not about me, but it’s hard not to feel like there’s just something at play there. There are 365 days in the year and it happened on the day - the greatest home run in the history of the program he played for,” said Brett.

Tennessee plays for a Regional championship against Liberty Sunday at 6:46 p.m.

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