KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (WVLT)-- Tennessee sophomore pitcher Garrett Crochet has accepted an invitation to the 2019 USA Baseball Collegiate National Team training camp.
The talented left hander is the 21st player in program history to be associated with one of the USA Baseball National Teams and the first to earn an invite to the Collegiate Team training camp since former UT pitcher Zach Warren made the team in 2016.
"It means a lot to be chosen to wear the Red, White and Blue and to represent not only our country but also the University of Tennessee and my family," Crochet said. "This is something I've always dreamed of but never believed would be something I would be a part of. The feeling is very surreal."
The USA Baseball Collegiate National Team will participate in series of four intrasquad exhibition games and a game against the Coastal Plain League Select before announcing a 26-man roster prior to the 8th USA vs. Cuba International Friendship Series that will take place July 2-6 in Cary, Charlotte, Durham and Hickory, North Carolina. Team USA's 26-man roster will then travel to Taiwan for the 19th USA vs. Chinese Taipei International Friendship Series after which USA Baseball will announce a final 24-man roster to compete in the 43rd USA vs. Japan Collegiate All-Star Series from July 16-21 in Japan.
After starting the year as one of the Volunteers' top options in the bullpen, Crochet worked his way into the weekend rotation midway through the season and ended up starting six games. The Ocean Springs, Miss., native finished the year with a 5-3 record and set career bests in numerous statistical categories, including ERA, appearances, saves, innings pitched, strikeouts, walks allowed and hits allowed.
Crochet racked up 81 strikeouts on the year to rank second on the team, and his 13.5 strikeouts per nine innings led all Tennessee pitchers with at least two starts. In his first outing of the season, Crochet struck out a career-high nine batters in four perfect innings of relief to earn a save against Appalachian State. He went on to strike out nine more batters in 5.1 innings of work in a victory over Indiana on Feb. 24.
Crochet also posted impressive performances in wins over a pair of top-five ranked teams in Vanderbilt and Georgia. The hard-throwing lefty tossed 4.1 shutout innings out of the bullpen to lead the Vols to a 7-6 road victory over the fourth-ranked Commodores on March 31, one of just four home games that Vanderbilt lost in the regular season.
Crochet made his first start of the year two weeks later in the series opener against No. 2 Georgia. He gave UT five shutout innings while striking out six batters as the Big Orange went on to post a 2-0 shutout victory.
After suffering a fractured jaw in the final series of the regular season against Ole Miss, Crochet returned just two weeks later to pitch for the Vols in the NCAA Chapel Hill Regional. He threw 2.1 scoreless innings to earn the win in an elimination game against UNCW before tossing 3.2 innings the next day in a victory over Liberty to help UT advance to the regional championship.