Jan. 28, 2014
2014 Schedule | UTTIX.com
The start of the 2014 Tennessee baseball season is just 17 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.
Practice has officially begun on Rocky Top and the Diamond Vols are in action throughout this week, with scrimmages set for Thursday, Friday and Saturday. All outdoor practices at Lindsey Nelson Stadium are free and open to the public. For more information and to view this week's pitching schedule, visit UTSports.com.
In total, 28 Vols have worn the Orange and White No. 17. Current sophomore and Knoxville native Derek Lance wore the uniform as a rookie and will sport it again for his second season. Today, we shift our focus back to 2003-04, when former Vol shortstop and three-time Major League draftee Brian Cleveland donned the jersey for the Volunteers.
#17 Brian Cleveland
2003-04 | SS | 6-1 | 185 lbs. | R/R | San Jose, Calif.
A native of San Jose, Calif., shortstop Brian Cleveland transferred to Tennessee after playing two seasons at the junior college level in California. Cleveland tore it up out west, hitting .401 with nine home runs and 41 RBIs as a sophomore in 2002, and batting .469 as a freshman. He was drafted by the Los Angeles Dodgers in the 36th round of the 2001 MLB Draft, but chose to continue his college playing days.
Cleveland started all 53 games he played at shortstop in 2003, finishing the campaign hitting .271 with seven doubles, two triple, four home runs and team-high 32 RBIs. He added nine sacrifice flies, tying for the SEC lead and a school record held by Todd Helton. Continuing a long line of Vols to play in the Alaska Baseball League, Cleveland suited up for the Anchorage Bucs that summer. He was drafted by the Chicago Cubs in the 49th round of the 2003 MLB Draft, but chose to return to Rocky Top for his senior season.
With the help of Cleveland and future Major Leaguers Chase Headley and Luke Hochevar, the Vols opened the year 29-5 - the best start in program history - but cooled down the stretch before being eliminated by UNC Wilmington in the NCAA Regionals. During the ride, Cleveland hit .281 with a team-high six home runs, 43 RBIs and 17 doubles. The senior was the only Vol to start all 62 games that season. The shortstop earned the Phil Garner Defensive Player of the Year Award in 2004.
Cleveland was drafted for the third time, this time by the Florida Marlins in the 16th round of the 2004 MLB Draft. He went on to play three seasons in the Marlins' organization at multiple levels. Cleveland suited up for the Jamestown Jammers (A-), the Greensboro Grasshoppers (A), the Jupiter Hammerheads (A+) and the Carolina Mudcats (AA) from 2004-06. He hit .256 with 12 home runs, 53 doubles, 94 RBIs and 32 stolen bases over the three seasons.
NOTES ON CLEVELAND
- Holds the SEC Tournament single-game record with eight assists vs. Arkansas (5/26/2004)
- Majored in sport management at Tennessee
- Earned SEC Academic Honor Roll acclaim in 2004
#17 Derek Lance
2013-14 | OF/INF | 5-10 | 175 lbs. | R/R | Knoxville, Tenn. (Bearden)
Derek Lance enters his second season as a member of the Diamond Vols in 2014. A graduate of nearby Bearden High School, Lance appeared in 15 games last season, making 11 starts in the outfield. He hit .143 on the season with two doubles, two RBIs and seven runs scored. Lance made his collegiate debut as a pinch hitter at UNLV on Feb. 15, 2013, drawing a walk. His first hit as a Vol was a double at Florida on April 28, 2013.
Lance led the Bearden Bulldogs to the 2012 Class AAA State Championship game as a senior. He earned all-state, all-district and team MVP honors after hitting a blazing .466 with 61 runs scored, eight homers and 37 RBIs. He was also named to the 2012 Knoxville News Sentinel PrepXtra First Team and claimed Rawlings Southeast Region Honorable Mention All-American accolades. Lance struck out just seven times in 171 at-bats as a senior, posting a blistering .533 batting average during postseason play.
NOTES ON LANCE
- Full name is Derek Alan Lance
- Born December 2, 1993
- Majoring in kinesiology