NEW YORK — Former Vol and current Kansas City Royals pitcher Luke Hochevar pitched two scoreless innings in relief and recorded the win in the series-clinching Game 5 of the World Series Sunday night. With the win, the Royals defeated the Mets, 7-2, in 12 innings, bringing Kansas City their first World Series championship since 1985.
In nine appearances in the 2015 postseason, Hochevar (2-0) pitched 10.2 scoreless innings while giving up just six hits.
With Sunday’s Game 5 knotted at 2-2 and heading to extra innings, the Royals turned to Hochevar for the 10th and 11th frames. The righthander delivered by holding the Mets hitless and recording one strikeout. In the top of the 12th, the Royals blew the game open with five runs, setting up Hochevar for the win as Kansas City secured the championship.
The 2015 World Series proved to be redemption for both Hochevar and the Royals, who reached the World Series the previous year but were defeated in seven games by the San Francisco Giants. Hochevar spent all of last year’s World Series on the disabled list due to Tommy John surgery that kept him out for the entire 2014 season. Hochevar officially returned to the mound this season on May 7, 2015.
Hochevar played three seasons with the Tennessee Volunteers from 2003-2005. In his final season on Rocky Top, Hochevar was named a consensus First-Team All-American, SEC Pitcher of the Year and the Roger Clemens National Pitcher of the Year.
While leading the Vols to the 2005 College World Series, Hochevar posted a 2.26 ERA and a 15-3 record. He set the single-season strikeout record at Tennessee with 154 and tied VFL and Toronto Blue Jays pitcher R.A. Dickey’s school record of 15 wins in a single season.
Hochevar and Dickey were two of four former Vols to make the 2015 MLB postseason. New York Yankees third baseman Chase Headley and Houston Astros third baseman Matt Duffy also made their teams’ respective playoff rosters. UT’s four former players to begin postseason play tied the second-highest count in the SEC this year and tied for third-highest among NCAA programs.
Hochevar is one of 12 former Vols to make a World Series appearance, and now the seventh to go on to win a World Series championship. The last former Vol to win a World Series title was Atlanta Braves pitcher Greg McMichael in 1995.