Jan. 19, 2014
2014 Schedule | UTTIX.com
The start of the 2014 Tennessee baseball season is just 26 days away!
In January and February, UTSports.com will count down the days remaining until the start of the Vols' 2014 campaign (Feb. 14) with looks back at the many players who donned jersey numbers 30-1.
The baseball season in Knoxville kicks off on the diamond on Feb. 14 when the Vols host the Nebraska-Omaha Mavericks at Lindsey Nelson Stadium at 4 p.m. With one of the youngest teams in the country in 2013, head coach Dave Serrano and company have the foundation in place on Rocky Top.
The 2014 slate is highlighted by 33 games in Knoxville, including early nonconference matchups against Purdue (Feb. 15-16) and UNLV (Feb. 21-23). The Vols open with a 13-game homestand, starting things off with three straight days of doubleheader action.
In total, 23 Vols have worn No. 26 and freshman outfielder Andrew Plunkett will be the 24th Vol to don the jersey in 2014. Included in the mix is former Major League Baseball journeyman catcher and the current pitching coach of the Jamestown Jammers of the New York-Penn League, Mike DiFelice.
#26 MIKE DIFELICE
1989-91 | C | 6-2 | 205 lbs. | Knoxville, Tenn. (Bearden)
A local product out of nearby Bearden High School in Knoxville, Mike DeFelice's was a letterman on Rocky Top from 1989-91. He jumped into the spotlight during the 1990 season, during which he ranked among the top 10 in the SEC in hitting (.353), home runs (10) and slugging percentage (.624).
The catcher earned second-team All-SEC honors that year and went on to finish his career with a .308 batting average, 123 hits, 17 home runs and 82 RBIs. His Tennessee pitching totals included a 3-1 record and four saves.
DiFelice was selected in the 11th round of the 1991 MLB Draft by the St. Louis Cardinals and would go on to play a part in 13 seasons for nine different teams. DiFelice finished his MLB career with a lifetime .236 batting average with 28 home runs, 167 RBI, 368 hits, including 83 doubles over 550 career games.
During his 13 years in the big leagues, DiFelice caught for the Cardinals, New York Mets, Tampa Bay Ray, Arizona Diamondbacks, Kansas City Royals, Chicago Cubs and Detroit Tigers.
On February 5, 2009, DiFelice was named the manager of the Rookie-level Kingsport Mets in Kingsport, Tenn., where he spent multiple seasons. He was recently named the pitching coach for the Jamestown Jammers of the New York-Penn League.
DiFelice was inducted into the Tennessee Baseball Hall of Fame on Jan. 29, 2007, becoming the 16th all-time inductee and the first to have played under head coach Rod Delmonico. He was also named a member of Tennessee's All-Century Team in 2009.
THROWBACK NOTES ON DIFELICE
- Born in Philadelphia, Penn.
- At-bat song in the MLB was 'You've Got Another Thing Comin' by Judas Priest
- Made MLB debut on September 1, 1996
#26 Andrew Plunkett
2014 | OF | 6-4 | 220 lbs. | R/R | Memphis, Tenn. (Memphis University School)
Freshman pitcher Andrew Plunkett will be the 24th Vol to wear No. 26 when he puts the jersey on in just 26 days. Plunkett comes to Knoxville from across the state in Memphis, where he was a four-year letterwinner for the Memphis University School Owls. He was ranked as the No. 4 outfielder in the Volunteer State and earned Rawlings All-American Southeast Region honors as a senior. Plunkett also helped the Owls' football team to the 2009 state championship and took the baseball squad to regionals in each of the last four years.
NOTES FROM HIS BIO
- Full name is Andrew Barksdale Plunkett
- Born March 2, 1994
- Major is currently undecided