Hawn's injury dampens Vols dominant win

Tennessee played impressive baseball in its season opener here Friday afternoon as the Vols defeated Xavier 16-6 to go 1-0 on the early season. A shoulder injury to Pre-season All-American Cody Hawn and the Vols No. 1 hitter from a year ago dampen what other wise was a great day for Vols Baseball. Hawn was taken for a MRI, go "Inside" for the latest on the situation.

For four innings Tennessee was playing almost perfect baseball here Friday afternoon in the Vols season opener against Atlantic Conference defending champion Xavier.

Third year head Coach Todd Raleigh and the majority of Vol faithful would rather the fifth inning never occurred.

No the Vols didn't lose, the Vols dominated the Musketeers for a 16-6 victory, but it was the injury of pre-season All-American Cody Hawn in the fifth inning and starting pitcher Bryan Morgado's only blemish of the game.

With Tennessee leading 8-0 going into the fifth inning, Morgado had only given up one hit and no runs.

Xavier scored three runs in the top of the fifth, but it was a freak play at first base that may dampen the Vols dominant victory.

Morgado caught a Musketeer runner between first and second on an outstanding pick off play by the red shirt junior. Hawn got into a run down with the runner and as he reached out to make the tag he got tangled up and fell to the ground. It was first thought that Hawn had injured a leg or ankle by Raleigh confirmed after the game what happened.

"He hurt his shoulder, they will do an MRI and x-ray tonight, they don't know, it's not good," Raleigh said. "Hopefully it's not anything too serious. The blessing is that it's his non throwing shoulder, he may be just fine. We really need him now, but we definitely need him later for sure."

Hawn hit a two run homer earlier in the game when the left handed hitter connected and went to the opposite side of the field, with the ball going over the left field fence. He was also hit by a pitch.

Raleigh has been saying that this team was talented and had a lot of confidence, the Vols proved that early in the game as seven UT hitters connected with the ball on the first pitch they faced.

"We were definitely aggressive at the plate today," Raleigh admitted. "I have no complaints how we played today. They were throwing us a lot of fast balls early which really surprised me. We are a pretty good fast ball hitting team."

Morgado came out after the fifth inning, he pitched five innings, giving up three earned runs, striking out six and giving up just four hits. He faced 18 batters, walking two and had one hit batsman. He threw a total of 94 pitches.

"I thought it was a solid performance," Morgado said. "That fifth inning I got some unfortunate breaks, its just baseball giving up three infield hits. Though four innings I felt really relaxed and do what I wanted to do which was to throw strikes and give my team a chance to win."

Morgado was excited about the run support his offense gave him.

"This team can hit as you saw today," Morgado said. "It was huge, gave me some early confidence. I was nice and relax, knew all I had to do is get guys out."

Morgado realizes his job is a tough one as the Friday night starter as he has to set the tone for the entire weekend; he did an outstanding job against Xavier setting a huge winning tone.

With a big lead, Raleigh opted to go with several young pitchers. Several had solid performances including Nick Blount coming in as relief.

Blount, a true freshman, was very impressive in his two innings he pitched. He faced six batters, gave up no hits, no runs, and struck out two of the six batters he went up against.

"Those freshmen were pretty good for us," Raleigh said. "It was good huh; he didn't look like a freshman. I couldn't be more pleased with what he did."

The Volunteers 1-0 will return to Lindsey Nelson Stadium Saturday at 2:00 p.m. Left hander Steven Gruver will get the start for Tennessee.

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