Why did Chase Burns transfer to Wake Forest? Exploring the star pitcher's decision

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Chase Burns' decision to play for Wake Forest explained

Chase Burns is undoubtedly one of college baseball's most lethal pitchers today. The junior pitcher has been a standout performer since leaving the Tennessee Volunteers to join the Wake Forest Demon Deacons this year, tallying 184 strikeouts and a 10-1 record with the ninth-best ERA of the season at 2.46.

Had he stayed with the Volunteers, he would have been part of the top-seeded national team that won the Southeastern Conference regular-season title as well as the SEC Tournament. Instead, he will go to the NCAA regionals by taking part in the Greenville Regional hosted by the ECU Pirates, with the Demon Deacons being the second seed in the regional.

Chase Burns has thrived for the Wake Forest Demon Deacons since leaving the Tennessee Volunteers.
Chase Burns has thrived for the Wake Forest Demon Deacons since leaving the Tennessee Volunteers.

Before leaving the Volunteers, he played a major role as a reliever in their run to last year's College World Series. He recorded 114 strikeouts at a rate of 14.3 per nine innings, which was the third highest in the country.

His stats indicated he deserved to be a starting pitcher for the Volunteers, which, according to coach Tony Vitello, was their plan for Burns. However, he was far from surprised when Burns entered the transfer portal last year, acknowledging that Burns told him he felt he peaked at Tennessee and a move was in his best interests.

"It's a different time now, and I think we all realize that," Vitello said. "But Chase moves on as the No. 1 prospect in the country in his class and one of the most popular players with the way he pitched for us in critical situations out of the bullpen.
"This season went in a lot of different ways, and as coaches, we have to do what we think is best for the whole group and find a way to try and win games. In the end, I think that worked out fairly well. We wish him the best, and we'll move on, too."

He went from being a relief pitcher to an outright starting pitcher, tossing fastballs averaging between 95 and 97 mph, even exceeding 100 mph on a few occasions. Burns also has a nasty slider which has caught batters out on more than one occasion.

Chase Burns is No. 7 in this year's top MLB draft prospects

The junior pitcher shattered Wake Forest records in his first season with the Demon Deacons. Earlier this month, he struck out 16 Clemson Tigers hitters in seven innings to record the highest K's in a single game for the team. In addition, he broke their single-season strikeout record, which stands at 184.

He won the Atlantic Coast Conference Pitcher of the Year award, making him the only other Demon Deacons pitcher to win the award after Rhett Lowder, who was drafted by the Cincinnati Reds last year.

Chase Burns has broken records since taking to the mound for the Wake Forest Demon Deacons.
Chase Burns has broken records since taking to the mound for the Wake Forest Demon Deacons.

Burns' exploits this season have earned him the No. 7 spot in MLB's top draft prospects. Among pitchers, he ranks just behind the Arkansas Razorbacks' Hagen Smith and the Florida Gators' two-way player Jac Caglianone.

Burns has a prior history with the MLB draft, with the San Diego Padres drafting him out of Beech Senior High School in the 20th round in 2021. However, his choice to play college baseball with the Vols put his MLB journey on hold.

At the end of this season, it looks like he'll make the step up to the major leagues, with several teams eyeing him for the draft. Hence, he will be keen to finish this season with the Demon Deacons on a high as their quest for the College World Series begins with regional play on Friday against VCU.

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