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On Tuesday, Jan. 5, Baseball America named their Top 100 prospects entering the 2016 Major League Draft, including two of Tennessee's juniors: third baseman Nick Senzel (No. 5) and right-handed pitcher Kyle Serrano (No. 42). 

To view the complete Top 100 Prospect List by Baseball America, click HERE.

This offseason, Senzel was named No. 14 on Major League Baseball's Top 50 Draft Prospects list, and was recently named a 2016 Preseason All-America selection by Louisville Slugger/Collegiate Baseball Newspaper. Tabbed a 2015 Summer Collegiate All-American First Team player by Perfect Game earlier this year, Senzel hit .364 for the Cape Cod League's Brewster Whitecaps with a league-leading 33 RBI to earn a 2015 All-Star bid, Most Outstanding Pro Prospect and Cape Cod League Most Valuable Player honors. As a sophomore last season, he was also named a Preseason All-SEC player and hit .325 with a .399 on-base percentage in 50 starts for the Volunteers. He led UT in batting average, hits (65), doubles (12) and triples (5), while his 28 RBI and .399 OBP ranked second behind former All-SEC outfielder and Detroit Tigers first-round pick Christin Stewart.

Listed as the No. 42 prospect among BA's Top 100, Serrano led the Vols' pitching staff in 2015 with five wins, posting a 5-4 record with a 4.47 ERA over 22 appearances (eight starts). He recorded 47 strikeouts over his 54.1 innings pitched, the fourth-most innings worked on the squad. Serrano went 3-2 and tossed 36.2 innings in the 2015 regular summer season for the Orleans Firebirds. He recorded 38 strikeouts, walked eight batters and posted a 3.68 ERA. Serrano went on to throw 3.1 scoreless innings of work for the Firebirds in the Cape Cod League postseason, registering one save and seven strikeouts. Prior to attending Tennessee, Serrano was selected by the Colorado Rockies in the 29th round (859th overall) of the 2013 MLB First-Year Player Draft.

Senzel Ranked No. 14 on MLB Top 50 List

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Tennessee junior Nick Senzel continues to bring in 2015-16 preseason accolades, as the infielder was recently named to Major League Baseball's 2016 Top 50 Draft Prospects list this week. Tabbed as the No. 14 overall player on the 2016 MLB charts, Senzel is one of just 19 position players to make the Top 50 and sits as No. 8 among those position players who will become draft eligible following their 2016 campaigns.

To view the complete list of MLB.com's Top 50 draft prospects, click HERE.

Named a Summer Collegiate All-American First Team player by Perfect Game this year, Senzel hit .364 for the Cape Cod League's Brewster Whitecaps with a league-leading 33 RBI to earn a 2015 All-Star bid, Most Outstanding Pro Prospect and Cape Cod League Most Valuable Player honors. Over 40 games, the Knoxville native recorded 56 hits, 16 doubles and scored 34 runs, leading the Cape Cod League in each of those offensive categories.

As a sophomore last season, Senzel was named a Preseason All-SEC player and hit .325 with a .399 OBP in 50 starts for the Volunteers. In 2014, he earned Freshman All-American honors from Louisville Slugger and Perfect Game, as well as an SEC All-Freshman Team nod, after hitting .315 with 57 hits, 37 runs scored and 14 stolen bases during his freshman campaign on Rocky Top.
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On Monday evening, VFLs Christin Stewart and A.J. Simcox celebrated a 3-2 West Michigan Whitecaps victory over Cedar Rapids, clinching a Midwest League Championship title in their first-ever season of professional baseball.

As Detroit's No. 10 prospect, Stewart finished the season with a .285 combined average between the Gulf Coast League Tigers, Connecticut Tigers and West Michigan Whitecaps. He recorded seven triples and 10 home runs on the year, including a four-hit night to send the Whitecaps into the postseason on Sept. 15.

Simcox joined Stewart and West Michigan's club in mid-August and hit .400 over 20 games with the Whitecaps, including three doubles and a home run. Splitting time between Detroit's GCL, Connecticut and West Michigan affiliates, the Knoxville native hit .415 against right-handed pitchers and also had a four-hit performance against Lansing on Sept. 14 to help West Michigan secure a playoff berth.

On the Major League circuit, VFL and 2015 Pacific Coach League MVP Matt Duffy was called up by his Houston Astros this month and made his MLB debut on Sept. 16, playing third base against the Texas Rangers in Arlington, Texas. 


Prior to his call-up, Duffy had played a team-high 124 games with Triple A Fresno with 102 RBI and 90 runs scored, leading Triple A baseball in both categories. Drafted by Houston in the 20th round of the June 2011 Major League Draft, Duffy had played nearly 600 minor league games, making the opportunity that much more special.



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VFL Zack Godley made his Major League debut on Thursday, July 23 with the Arizona Diamondbacks and dealt a stellar 6.0 scoreless innings en route to earning the win! By doing so, the 25-year-old former Volunteer also became the first pitcher in the Modern Era to toss 6.0-plus scoreless innings with no walks and seven-or-more strikeouts in his Big League debut (source: Arizona Diamondbacks). 

"I was locating my pitches pretty well, all of them, anywhere from a fastball all the way to the changeup and curveball," Godley told MLB.com after his outing. "Everything seemed to by working pretty well. It's a great feeling and truly humbling. I'm glad these guys are giving me the opportunity."

"The umpire, Brian O'Nora, came over and said, 'This guy has got really good stuff,' and that showed," Diamondbacks Manager Chip Hale also told MLB.com. "I love the intensity. That's one of the things we liked about him. He fit right in and didn't seem to be bothered by anything."

After dominating opponents in the California League with Arizona's Class A Visalia, the righthander was promoted to Double A Mobile earlier this month. Prior to his call from the Major League club, Godley held a 9-4 combined minor league record with a 2.72 ERA over 17 games this season.

Here's a look at more of the coverage surrounding Zack Godley's impressive night at Chase Field:

Happy Birthday - June 22

We've got four Big Orange birthdays to celebrate on June 22!



First, we're sending happy birthday wishes to A.J. Simcox of Vol Baseball! A Knoxville native, Simcox appeared in 50 games for UT last season, playing primarily at shortstop. He finished the year with a .293 batting average to go along with 27 RBIs and one homer. On June 10 he was selected in the 14th round of the 2015 MLB Draft by the Detroit Tigers. He is 21 years old today.



Teammate Tyler Schultz is also celebrating a birthday today. A senior catcher out of Huntington Beach, California, Schultz appeared in 32 games for UT during the 2014 season. He made 71 plate appearances and hit .254 with eight RBIs. He began his collegiate career at the University of San Francisco before transferring to Cypress CC for his sophomore stint. He turns 23 years old today.



From Vol Track, we wish a happy birthday to rising senior thrower Carson Frost. Frost was sharp in 2015, setting a new personal best in the weight throw during the 2015 indoor season and achieving his highest individual finish ever during the outdoor season. He logged a career-best weight throw of 57 feet, 5.5 inches at the Doc Hale VT Elite Meet during the indoor campaign and finished a career-high fifth during the outdoor season in the hammer throw at the War Eagle Invitational. Today is Frost's 22nd birthday. 

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Lastly, we wish a happy birthday to Ariel Kupritz of women's soccer. A native of Maryville, Kupritz began her collegiate career at Miami before transferring home to UT. She sat out the 2014 soccer season. She appeared in eight matches during her freshman season with the Hurricanes and achieved Dean's List status in the business school with a perfect 4.0 GPA. Kupritz is 20 years old today.

Happy birthday, A.J., Tyler, Carson, and Ariel!


Happy Birthday - June 19

On June 19 we wish a happy birthday to baseball pitcher Jacob Westphal



A native of Sioux City, Iowa, Westphal recently completed his freshman season on Rocky Top. He appeared in 12 games over the course of the season, posting a record 1-1 with a 3.79 ERA and 13 strikeouts over 19.0 innings of work. His first win of the season came against ETSU when he threw 3.2 innings, allowing three runs and striking out four. 

Westphal is 19 years old today.

Happy birthday, Jacob!


Happy Birthday - June 11

We've got a quartet of birthdays to celebrate on Rocky Top on this 11th day of June. We're wishing a happy birthday to the fearless leader of Lady Vol basketball, Holly Warlick, as well as to women's swimming's Colleen Callahan, former men's swimmer Sam Petersen, and baseball VFL Will Maddox.



Warlick has spent 30 years at the University of Tennessee -- a span that includes time as a player, an assistant coach, and three years in her current role of head women's basketball coach. A three-time All-American point guard for UT (1976-80), Warlick spent 27 years as a loyal assistant to legendary coach Pat Summitt before taking over the reins of the program in 2012.



A rising junior, Callahan was an NCAA qualifier during her sophomore season. She competed in the 200 breaststroke, 200 IM, and 400 IM at the national meet, recording a new career-best time of 1:59.70 in the 200 IM. Callahan is a member of the 2015 SEC Academic Honor Roll and is celebrating her 20th birthday today.



Petersen saw his UT career come to a close in 2014 as he finished ranked No. 6 all-time in program history in the 1000 freestyle (9:09.17) and No. 9 in the 1650 freestyle (15:11.21). The Short Hills, New Jersey, native was a two-time member of the SEC Academic Honor Roll.



Before being drafted in the 18th round of the 2014 MLB Draft by the Detroit Tigers, Maddox played infield for three seasons with the Diamond Vols. He started in 157 of his 160 career games and posted a .309 batting average with five home runs and 60 RBIs. He is currently playing first base for the West Michigan Whitecaps of Class A.

Happy birthday Holly, Colleen, Sam, and Will!

 

Happy Birthday - June 9

On June 9, we're celebrating the birthdays of baseball's Zach Warren, women's swimmer Madison Hahn, and football VFL Craig Colquitt!



Warren, a left-handed pitcher, recently completed his freshman season on Rocky Top. The Vineland, New Jersey, native went 2-0 in his first season, appearing in eight games and getting five starts along the way. He finished the year with 16 strikeouts and a 5.09 ERA in 23 innings pitched. Born this day in 1996, Warren is 19 years old.



A rising senior out of Norfolk, Virginia, Hahn made a pair of individual finals at the SEC Championships in the spring, finishing in a tie for 13th in the 100 backstroke (53.69) and 21st in the 200 backstroke (1:57.17). She picked up a win in the 100 backstroke earlier in the season, swimming 53.58 to take gold at the Nike Cup. A three-time member of the SEC Academic Honor Roll, Hahn is 21 years old today.



June 9 is also the birthday of Knoxville native and two-time Super Bowl champion Craig Colquitt. Father of current NFL punters and former Vols Dustin and Britton Colquitt, craig played for the Vols from 1975-77 before being drafted by the Steelers in the third round of the NFL Draft. He would go on to win a pair of Super Bowls with the franchise and was inducted into the Greater Knoxville Hall of Fame in 2009.

Happy birthday Zach, Madison, and Craig!


Happy Birthday - June 4

On June 4 we're sending 'happy birthday' wishes to Lizzie Cornell of track and field and to baseball VFL Steve Searcy!



A four-year performer from Virginia Beach, Virginia, Cornell recently concluded her career on Rocky Top. A distance specialist, Cornell competed during all three facets of the season: cross country, indoor track, and outdoor track. In 2014-15, she competed in three cross country races, setting a new career-best 6K time at the NCAA South Regional and during the outdoor seasons she recorded a new PR of 2:23.90 in the 800 meters. At season's end, she was named the Tennessee Track & Field Women's Scholar Athlete of the Year.



Searcy spent five seasons in the Major Leagues following the conclusion of his playing career at the University of Tennessee. He pitched at UT from 1983-85, going 3-1 with a 2.60 ERA as a freshman. The Knoxville native would go on to be drafted by the Detroit Tigers in the third round of 1985 MLB Draft and he made his pro debut on Aug. 29, 1988. Searcy would pitch four seasons for the Tigers before being traded to the Philadelphia Phillies. Primarily a reliever, Searcy finished his MLB career with six wins, a 5.68 ERA, and over 187.0 innings pitched.

Happy birthday Lizzie and Steve!

 

Happy Birthday - May 28

On May 28 we're wishing a happy birthday to a quartet of Volunteers: Hannah Wilkinson of women's soccer, Austin Sanders of football, Steven Kane of baseball, and VFL and former big leaguer Mike DiFelice



Wilkinson wrapped up her senior season in the fall but will return in 2015 after being granted a fifth-year of eligibility. That fifth year will come after a stop at this summer's FIFA Women's World Cup in Canada where she will represent her native New Zealand on the global stage. A forward, Wilkinson scored a team-high nine goals for UT last season, including a two-goal performance against No. 17 Kentucky in the SEC Tournament. She is 23 years old today.



Sanders is a rising sophomore offensive lineman for Vol football, standing 6-5 and weighing in at 307. He made his UT debut last season as a redshirt freshman in the season-opener against Utah State and went on to appear in four more games for the Vols. The Cleveland, Tennessee, native turns 20 years old today.



Kane recently completed his debut season for Tennessee baseball after arriving on Rocky Top from Cypress Community College. The righty pitched in 19 games for UT, recording an ERA of 4.64 and a 2-1 overall record in 33 innings of work. A native of Peoria, Arizona, Kane is 22 years old today.



Lastly, we wish a happy birthday to former big league catcher and current minor league manager DiFelice. He was an All-SEC catcher for the Vols and lettered from 1989-91. During the 1990 season, he ranked among the top 10 in the SEC in hitting (.353), home runs (10), and slugging percentage (.624). He was drafted in 1991 by the St. Louis Cardinals and went on to spend 11 seasons as a catcher in the majors. DiFelice was inducted into the Tennessee baseball Hall of Fame in 2007.

Happy birthday Hannah, Austin, Steven, and Mike!





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