Jan. 29, 2014
2014 Schedule | UTTIX.com
The start of the 2014 Tennessee baseball season is just 16 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, 24 Vols have worn the Orange and White No. 16, and no Tennessee player plans to wear it in 2014. Today, we rewind a decade and take a look back at former Vol designated hitter and first baseman Alex Suarez, who played on Rocky Top from 2003-05, and is now the Assistant Director, Player Development/International Scouting with the Chicago Cubs.
#16 Alex Suarez
2003-05 | DH/1B | 6-0 | 200 lbs. | R/R | Miami, Fla.
A native of Miami, Alex Suarez attended Florida International University as a freshman. He hit .326 for the Panthers, with 12 doubles, two triples, three home runs and 27 RBIs while playing 47 games. He made 34 starts, stole 10 bases and recorded a 13-game hitting streak during the season.
Suarez transferred to Tennessee and played the following season for the Vols. He appeared in 43 games, including 35 starts (34 as DH). He batted .299 with one home run and 15 RBIs, but saw his numbers increase to .311 with eight RBIs in SEC play.
Suarez had a breakout junior season in 20014, earning second team All-Southeastern Conference honors after leading the Vols in batting average (.330) and on-base percentage (.416). He ranked third in the SEC and led UT in hit-by-pitches (16), collected 15 doubles, three homers and 32 RBIs. Suarez played in 59 games, making 45 total starts (43 at DH and two in RF). The junior was named the team's Steve Searcy Most Improved Player in 2004.
The 2005 season was certainly one to remember for the Vols. Tennessee posted a 46-21 overall record and behind future big-leaguers Luke Hochevar, Chase Headley, Julio Borbon and J.P Arencibia made it to the College World Series in Omaha for the first time since 2001. Moving to first base, Suarez batted .245 with 13 doubles and 31 RBIs. He also led the team with an impressive 23 hit-by-pitch - the second most in UT single-season history. Suarez actually holds the Tennessee career record for total hit-by-pitch with 42, which he did in just three seasons. The senior also tied for the team high with 11 sacrifice bunts.
After graduating from UT in 2005, Suarez went undrafted in the 2005 MLB Draft. He was coming off three surgeries on three different areas of his right arm. However, the former Vol found his way back into baseball and currently serves as the Assistant Director, Player Development/International Scouting for the Chicago Cubs.
NOTES ON SUAREZ
- Full name is Alejandro Manuel Suarez
- Nickname is A.M.
- Graduated with a degree in political science