Tennessee baseball pitchers J.J. Garcia and Austin Hunley are playing their summer baseball for the Forest City Owls in the Coastal Plains League.
Based in Forest City, North Carolina, the Owls have been a part of the Coastal Plain League since 2008. Forest City has 10 playoff appearances and two championships in its 14-year history.
The Owls are off to a strong start to the season, entering their Fourth of July matchup with a 16-11 record (16-9 in league games) and both Garcia and Hunley have played a major role for Forest City this season. In fact, Hunley ranks first in the league in innings pitched and Garcia is ranks second.
Through five starts, Garcia boasts a 3-0 record, 3.03 ERA and a 1.12 WHIP. The rising Tennessee sophomore posted three straight quality starts from June 9 to June 25, including 6.2 scoreless innings allowing just two htis and striking out nine against the Ashboro Zoo Keepers.
Hunley’s numbers aren’t as impressive as Garcia’s but he’s been a reliable starter for Forest City too. The Mount Juliet, Tennessee native boasts a 2-1 record, 5.00 ERA and 1.37 WHIP in 27 innings pitched. Hunley’s posted at least five innings pitched in all five of his starts.
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Both Garcia and Hunley are entering their second year in Knoxville. Garcia posted a 5.79 ERA in 4.2 innings pitched as a freshman, striking out seven while surrendering just one free pass. A Statesville, North Carolina native, Garcia is playing his summer baseball just 81 miles from his home town.
Hunley redshirted in his freshman season at Tennessee, but the Vols are high on the right-handed pitcher’s potential and future inside the UT program.
Austin Hunley is the younger brother of former star Tennessee reliever Sean Hunley. The elder Hunley pitched at Tennessee from 2018-2021 and is perhaps the most effective relief pitcher of the Tony Vitello era. Sean Hunley carried his collegiate success over to professional baseball and is currently a member of the Tampa Bay Rays’ AA team the Montgomery Biscuits.
While Hunley and Garcia are the only two Tennessee players in the Coastal Plains League this summer, the Vols frequently send players to the east coast summer league and have had an abundance of players compete for Forest City in past seasons.