Hitting is expected to be a key strength for this year's Tennessee Baseball team.
Third year head coach Todd Raleigh is all smiles when he starts talking about his team's strengths this spring.
"We definitely should be one of the better hitting teams in the conference," Raleigh noted. "We have some key veterans back along with some great young talent. Hitting shouldn't be a problem for this group."
One of those key returning hitters is Vols first baseman and Knoxville resident Cody Hawn.
Hawn, who played at South Doyle High School before playing one season at Walter State Community College, led the Vols at the plate last spring as a sophomore with a .364 batting average. He also led the team in homeruns with 22, RBI's with 81 and hits with 77.
"Cody was a great addition to our team last year," Raleigh noted. "He definitely can swing the bat and is very productive at the plate for us."
Hawn believes the biggest difference between the team this year than last year is a year of aging and maturing.
"Our group has grown up and has really matured as a team," Hawn noted. "We definitely want to win the SEC and go a long ways in the NCAA playoffs."
Hawn thinks that the Vols has the talents to compete for big things this season.
"We have all the talent in the world," Hawn said. "We just have to put everything all together."
Hawn realizes that he has work cut out for himself to repeat his numbers last year.
"I just want to go out and produce every game for my team," Hawn said. "I want to be that guy that the team relies on for that extra spark at the plate."
Hawn also has seen a change in his head coach.
"Coach Raleigh is much more relaxed this season," Hawn noted. "He has been really positive this spring so far. He has players that fit his system a lot better than in the past."
With only eight days left before the Volunteers take the field against Xavier, Hawn has one goal for himself and his teammates.
"We just want to get better each and every day of practice," Hawn said. "If we continue to improve each day we will be more than ok. This team's work ethic is the best I have seen."
Being a Knoxville resident, Hawn is very familiar with Tennessee Athletics.
"I have been coming to games at UT since I was five years old," Hawn said. "I grew up in Orange and White. To be playing for the Vols is a dream come true."
Hawn appeared and started in all 50 games last year as a sophomore for the Vols. He was named the 2008 TJCCAA Player of the Year while at junior college, he played in 63 games and batted .401 with 84 runs, 93 hits, a team-high 21 doubles, 23 home runs and a team-high 71 RBIs...Boasted a .789 slugging percentage and a .463 on-base percentage.