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Tony Vitello Updates Hunter Ensley’s Status On Tuesday At College World Series

Photo By Kate Luffman/Tennessee Athletics

Tennessee centerfielder Hunter Ensley is day-to-day ahead of the Vols’ National Semifinal matchup against either Florida State or North Carolina on Wednesday afternoon in Omaha.

“Definitely better today than he was on Monday,” Tennessee head coach Tony Vitello said on Tuesday. “It was good for the guys to earn a day of rest or kind of a recovery day, which it has been ever since Hoover on Mondays. Back to work today and he was involved in everything.”

Ensley exited Tennessee’s Sunday matchup against North Carolina in the top of the fifth inning with what he described as a “lower body” injury and Vitello said he believed was a hip injury following the game. The center fielder was holding his hamstring in the dugout after he exited.

The redshirt junior went crashing into the centerfield wall while making a sensational running catch in the second inning. Ensley hit in the bottom of the second inning and then again in the fourth inning before exiting the game after Tennessee opened up a 3-0 lead.

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Vitello and Ensley both noted Tennessee needing to play someone with better mobility in centerfield once they opened up the lead in the big ballpark.

While Ensley did go through normal practice and weights with his teammates on Tuesday, Vitello said he wasn’t able to go full speed.

“I don’t know if he could have gone full speed but he was cautioned to not go full speed through everything,” Vitello said. “He did everything that our guys just not as much as he might normally do.”

If Ensley isn’t able to play on Wednesday, Tennessee would have a number of options to go to instead. Colby Backus replaced Ensley against North Carolina and they could do that again. Other options would include Kavares Tears sliding over to centerfield or Reese Chapman playing centerfield.

Tears moving to centerfield and Chapman playing in right field seems like the most likely option that Tennessee would resort to if Ensley is unable to play. Vitello also mentioned that Christian Moore has the ability to play centerfield but that they would rather not move him out of the infield.

First pitch between Tennessee and either Florida State or North Carolina is at 3 p.m. ET on Wednesday afternoon. ESPN is broadcasting the game.

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