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Tennessee CF Hunter Ensley’s Status Uncertain For College World Series Finals

Photo via Tennessee Athletics

OMAHA, Neb. — Tennessee redshirt junior Hunter Ensley could potentially return to his starting spot in centerfield for this weekend’s College World Series Final Series against Texas A&M.

“Today will have a lot to do with it,” Tennessee head coach Tony Vitello said on Friday. “I think he could go out there. It’s just a matter of match-ups and we feel good about our depth, too. There’s other guys who can play the outfield and play in different spots.

We don’t want to push it, but at the same time he’s our guy. We want him in the lineup in some capacity. But I think there’s a lot of time between now and first pitch tomorrow. So hopefully that will benefit him.”

Ensley injured his hamstring in Tennessee baseball’s 6-1 win over North Carolina in its second game of the College World Series on last Sunday night. The Vols’ starting centerfielder exited the game in the top of the sixth inning two at-bats and four innings after crashing into the wall in centerfield.

Both Vitello and Ensley said after the game that Tennessee opening up a lead and needing a centerfielder at full strength was a main reason why Colby Backus replaced him.

More From RTI: Everything Tennessee Head Coach Tony Vitello Said Ahead Of College World Series Finals

Ensley started at designated hitter against Florida State on Wednesday night, going one-for-four with a RBI single and a pair of other hard hit balls right at defenders. With Ensley serving as the designated hitter against Florida State, right fielder Kavares Tears slid over to centerfield and Reese Chapman started at right field.

Vitello said that practice will be important to figuring out whether Ensley has recovered enough to play centerfield in the large Charles Schwab Field outfield.

Tears is a more than capable centerfielder, showing it by making a spectacular catch of his own at the wall against the Seminoles. While Chapman started in right field against Florida State, Dalton Bargo is also capable of playing in right field.

First pitch for game one of the College World Series finals between Tennessee and Texas A&M is at 7:30 p.m. ET on Saturday night. ESPN is broadcasting the game.

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