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The third baseman transferred from Louisville moves to the Tennessee baseball team

Tennessee baseball is not resting on its laurels after winning the first national championship in the program's history.

Vols coach Tony Vitello continued his restructuring of the program, adding infield recruit Gavin Kilen from Louisville to the roster on Thursday. Kilen, who Baseball America rated as the top player in the transfer portal, chose the Vols over SEC rivals LSU and Florida.

“See you soon, Knoxville,” Kilen wrote on Instagram, announcing the transfer destination.

REQUIRED READING: What Tennessee's national baseball title means to Tony Vitello's father: “This is heaven for us”

As a sophomore last season for the Cardinals, Kilen was named to the All-ACC Third Team after posting a .330 batting average with nine home runs, 41 RBIs, three triples and 71 runs scored in 56 games and 234 batting appearances. He led Louisville in hits (69), doubles (23) and total bases (124). Kilen started 54 of his 56 games at shortstop. The 23 doubles were the fifth-most in a single season in program history. As a freshman, Kilen – who bats left and throws right – appeared in 43 games and posted a .265 batting average in 168 appearances.

Kilen's father – Chris Kilen – played college baseball at the University of Louisiana-Monroe. Kilen was ranked the best shortstop and best punter in Wisconsin by Perfect Game, as well as the best shortstop and best punter in the nation.

He attended Milton High in Milton, Wisconsin before signing with Louisville despite being selected in the 13th round of the 2022 MLB Draft by the Boston Red Sox, his favorite team.

Kilen joins right-handed Kennesaw State pitcher Tanner Franklin as transfer additions to the Volunteers. Tennessee has made good use of the transfer portal over the past year, with former Clemson third baseman Billy Amick playing a key role on the national championship team with 23 home runs last season. Hitters Dalton Bargo and Cannon Peebles — as well as pitchers AJ Causey, Nate Snead and Chris Stamos — were also portal additions for the Vols.

Gavin Kilen Statistics

Here's a look at Kilen's stats from his first two seasons in Louisville.

  • 2023: .265 average, 40 hits, 18 RBI, nine doubles, one triple, 10 walks, 14 strikeouts and 22 runs scored in 151 at-bats and 46 games.
  • 2024: .339 average, 76 hits, 10 home runs, 44 RBI, 23 doubles, three triples, seven walks, 23 strikeouts and 43 runs scored in 224 at-bats and 56 games.