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Happy Birthday - March 31

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It's the last day of March and we are celebrating the birthday of baseball's Benito Santiago



A freshman from Pembroke Pines, Florida, Santiago is in the midst of his true freshman season for Vol Baseball and head coach Dave Serrano. Already this year, Santiago has appeared in 14 ballgames, including nine starts behind the plate at the catcher position. He recorded his first collegiate hit during a 4-1 victory at Belmont back on Feb. 25. 

Happy birthday, Benito!


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Tennessee Baseball made national headlines following a record-setting win over the No. 3-ranked Florida Gators on Friday night, propelled by an 8.0 no-hit inning performance from starting senior Bret Marks.
Marks' 8.0 innings established a new career high for the righthander, as he did not allow a hit until the top of the ninth inning in Gainesville against the Gators. He threw 101 total pitches and struck out eight batters en route to earning the win.

The Vols' offense produced another record feat, blasting four home runs against Florida's starting pitcher Logan Shore, who was 3-0 with a 0.00 ERA entering Friday's contest. Three of UT's homers came in the first inning, led by junior A.J. Simcox's solo homer to left field to snap Shore's 23.2 scoreless innings streak to start the season. The home run was the first of Simcox's career as a Vol and paved the way for sophomore Nathaniel Maggio, who later hit a two-run shot over the right field wall for his first-ever homer in a Tennessee uniform. To top off the first frame, designated hitter Andrew Lee laced one off of the right field foul pole, giving Tennessee a 4-0 advantage in the first inning. Maggio and Lee became the first pair to hit back-to-back homers for UT since May 18, 2010. 

Capping off the Tennessee slugfest was cleanup batter Christin Stewart, who sent one sailing over the right field wall again in the third to make it a UT 5-0 lead. Stewart's home was his team-leading fourth of the year.
Entering Friday night's game against Florida, Tennessee's offense had knocked four home runs all season before knocking four against Florida's Shore alone.

With a near no-hit effort and an incredible display of offense against the Gators, here's a look at the recent headlines made for Bret Marks and Tennessee Baseball:
- VIDEO: SEC Network/ESPN: Vols top Gators in SEC Opener, 6-3
- Knoxville News Sentinel: Vols Power Past Florida, 6-3

Happy Birthday - March 11

March 11 brings us a trio of birthdays on Rocky Top -- two belonging to a pair of longtime VFLs and another for a young man whose Volunteer career is just about to begin. Today we celebrate the birthdays of Tennessee football VFL Eric Westmoreland, baseball standout Chris Burke, and incoming freshman Eli Wolf.

Westmoreland was a linebacker for the Vols from 1997-2000, playing an integral role in UT's run to the BCS National Championship in 1998. He was named a captain in 2000 and went on to lead the squad in tackles with 83, earning All-SEC honors from the league's coaches. For his career, Westmoreland logged 253 total tackles, including 34 for loss. He was a third round pick in the 2001 NFL draft by the Jacksonville Jaguars and played three seasons before signing on with the Cleveland Browns in 2004. He played three more seasons with the Browns.



A native of Louisville, Kentucky, Burke played baseball at UT from 1999-2001. He was named to three All-America teams during his time in Knoxville, including a Freshman Second Team All-America pick at second base in 1999. In 2000, he was named third team All American and picked up All-SEC honors. He moved to shortstop in 2001 and helped the Volunteers to an appearance in the College World Series. That season he hit .435 with 20 home runs and 49 stolen bases. He was named to the CWS all-tournament team and was the unanimous choice as the 2001 SEC Player of the Year. He went 10th in the 2001 MLB draft to the Houston Astros and made his major league debut with the club in 2004. Other big league stops included the Arizona Diamondbacks, the San Diego Padres, and the Atlanta Braves.



An incoming freshman tight end from Minster, Ohio, Wolf set new records at Minster High School in career receptions (124), receiving yards (2,234), and receiving touchdowns (27) over his three varsity seasons. He helped the Wildcats to the 2014 Ohio State Division VI championship, catching nine passes for 145 yards and three TDs in the title game. He is the younger brother of current Vol tight end Ethan Wolf and turns 18 years old today. 



Happy Birthday - March 4

We've got two Big Orange birthdays to celebrate on this March 4 as football's Matt Giampapa and baseball VFL Dalton Saberhagen are each blowing out the candles today!

A long snapper from Jackson, Tennessee, Giamapapa just concluded his redshirt junior season in 2014. He started all 13 games for the Vols, providing long snapper duties on all 80 punts and 69 kicks for a grand total of 149 snaps on the season. Born this day in 1993, Giampapa is 22 years old.

Matt  Giampapa

With baseball season now in full swing, we're also wishing a happy birthday to alumnus and Calabasas, California, native Dalton Saberhagen. A lefty reliever, Saberhagen appeared in 54 games in his UT career, turning in a career record of 6-5 with a 5.62 ERA. 

Dalton Saberhagen

Happy birthday, Matt and Dalton!



Happy Birthday - March 2

Today, on March 2, we're wishing a happy birthday to baseball redshirt freshman Andrew Plunkett!

Andrew  Plunkett

After a redshirt season in 2014, the Memphis native made his Orange and White debut during the 2015 season-opening series at FIU. He made two pinch-hit appearances during that series and has since made three starts at DH for the Vols. He hit the first home run of his Tennessee career on Saturday, helping UT to a 12-10 win at UC Irvine. 

Born this day in 1994, Plunkett turns 21 years old today. Happy birthday, Andrew!


Happy Birthday - March 1

It's a brand new month and we've got two birthdays to celebrate along with it. Rower Nicole Burnett and baseball VFL Rich Rodriguez both blow out the candles today!

Burnett is a freshman from Morristown, Tennessee, and a novice and the 2014-15 rowing squad. At Morristown West High School, she was a member of the Beta Club and an AP Scholar. She is majoring in psychology. Born this day in 1996, Burnett turns 19 years old today.

Nicole Burnett

Rodriguez was a pitcher for the Tennessee baseball team from 1982-84. He started 34 games in his UT career, including 11 complete-game efforts. He was drafted by the New York Mets in the ninth round of the 1984 MLB Draft and made his major league debut in 1990 with the San Diego Padres. He pitched in the bigs for 14 seasons, concluding his career with the Anaheim Angels in 2003.



Happy birthday, Nicole and Rich! 

Happy Birthday - Feb. 24

We have a pair of VFL birthdays to celebrate on this February 24th as we send 'happy birthday' wishes to former football placekicker Fuad Reveiz and former baseball infielder Taylor Smart!

Reveiz, who went on to play 10 seasons in the NFL, was born in Bogota, Colombia, before his family relocated to Miami, Florida. He was signed to kick at the University of Tennessee by legendary coach Johnny Majors and kicked for the Vols from 1981-84. As a sophomore, Reveiz turned his best season. He went 27-of-31 on field goal tries and connected on a school-record 60-yarder against Georgia Tech. 

Smart graduated from Tennessee baseball last spring after two seasons in the Orange and White. As a senior, he played in 53 of 54 games for UT, starting 50 at third base and two at shortstop. For his career, Smart hit .280 with six home runs, and even 100 hits, and 48 RBIs. He was selected by the Seattle Mariners in the 26th round of the 2014 Major League Baseball First-Year Player Draft. 

 

Happy birthday to both Fuad and Taylor!


Happy Birthday - Feb. 20

We've got three Big Orange birthdays on Rocky Top on this third Friday of February, as current student-athletes Brueck Ball (rowing) and Brodie Leftridge (baseball) celebrate their respective birthdays, as does baseball VFL Julio Borbon. 

A sophomore from Nashville, Ball is in her second season with Tennessee rowing and first as a varsity squad member. She turns 20 years old today. 

A true freshman from Baltimore, Maryland, outfielder Leftridge is gearing up for his first season with Vol Baseball. He was ranked a top-50 outfielder coming out of St. John's Catholic Prep and was the No. 4 prospect out of the state of Maryland. Leftridge turns 19 years old today. 

VFL Julio Borbon, now with the Baltimore Orioles organization, helped Tennessee reach the College World Series in 2005. He ranked third on that team with a .350 batting average -- the fifth-best batting average for a freshman in Tennessee history. He went on to lead UT with a .366 batting average in 2006 and posted a .345 batting average in 2007 -- his final season on Rocky Top.

Brueck Ball Brodie  Leftridge Julio Borbon

Happy birthday, Brueck, Brodie, and Julio!

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On Friday, Feb. 13, #25 Tennessee Baseball officially began their 2015 season at Florida International, visiting the Conference USA opponent in Miami, Fla. for a three-game weekend series. Despite falling in the season opener to the Panthers, 4-3, the team showed good signs of what's ahead. The Vols executed everything from squeeze bunts, to high-and-runs, stolen bases and even demonstrated some power, as junior outfielder Christin Stewart began his 2015 campaign with an RBI-triple to right field in his first at-bat.

This offseason, the Vols have made their way into national media news once again, garnering a Top 25 Preseason ranking from D1Baseball.com as well as boasting two Preseason All-SEC player nominations in Stewart and sophomore infielder Nick Senzel. While the Southeastern Conference named both players to their preseason First and Second Team All-SEC lists, Stewart also received Preseason All-American bids from four additional media outlets (Louisville Slugger/Collegiate Baseball News, Perfect Game, Baseball American and D1Baseball.com) and was selected to the USA Baseball Preseason Golden Spikes Award Watch List, sponsored by Major League Baseball.

Here's a look at the recent coverage of Tennessee Volunteer Baseball, including an in-depth feature on Stewart from the Knoxville News Sentinel:
- Knoxville News Sentinel (FEATURE): UT's Christin Stewart embarks on defining season
- SECSports.com/SECN (VIDEO): Reflections on SEC Baseball

Happy Birthday - Feb. 4

A couple of Big Orange birthdays to be celebrated on Rocky Top today! Our first 'happy birthday' goes out to football's Curt Maggitt. Curt just wrapped up his junior season at linebacker for UT, earning All-SEC Associated Press Second Team honors after finishing third in the conference in total sacks (11.0). Curt is 22 years old today. Also celebrating birthday is baseball's Vincent Jackson. An outfielder, Vincent is getting set to begin his junior season in just nine days' time. Roaming center field for the Vols, he batted .234 with six doubles, one triple, two home runs, and 27 RBIs a year ago. Vincent is celebrating his 21st birthday today.

Happy birthday, Curt and Vincent!

Curt Maggitt  Vincent Jackson

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