Jan. 30, 2014
2014 Schedule | UTTIX.com
The start of the 2014 Tennessee baseball season is just 15 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 outdoor scrimmages set for 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, just 22 Vols have worn the Orange and White No. 15, and freshman first baseman Nathaniel Maggio will become the 23rd on opening day. Last year, the uniform was worn by the Vols' ace on the hill Zack Godley, and if you flashback to the early 1970s it was sported by former Vol and current member of the Tennessee Baseball Hall of Fame, Joe O'Brien.
#15 JOE O'BRIEN
1971-73 | RHP | R/R | 6-1 | 200 lbs. | Knoxville, Tenn.
A native of Knoxville, former right-handed pitcher Joe O'Brien played at Tennessee from 1971-73. The Vols' ace earned SEC All-Eastern Division honors in both 1972 and 1973. He led the Vols in strikeouts all three years he took the mound.
In 1972, O'Brien set the school's single game record with 20 strikeouts against Maryville on May 9, 1972. The record still stands today. It is also a UT team single game record. O'Brien also posted the seventh-best ERA in Vols' single season history in 1972, finishing the season with a mark of 1.95. He pitched seven complete games that same season, which ranks sixth in UT's record books.
In 1973, O'Brien recorded nearly one third of Tennessee's total strikeouts (63 of 196) and actually registered the first recorded no-hitter in UT history. On March 30, 1973, O'Brien went all 7.0 innings, striking out six of the 22 total batters he faced. Only a first-inning error kept O'Brien from recording a perfect game. Bobby Tucker's three-run home in the fifth inning was the game-winning hit.
For his career, O'Brien ranks eighth all-time with a 2.99 ERA and is tied for fifth with 12 complete games.
O'Brien was drafted by the Philadelphia Phillies in the 22nd round of the 1973 MLB Amateur Draft. He played two seasons in the organization, pitching with the Rocky Mount Phillies (A) and the Reading Phillies (AA). He posted a 13-6 record with a 2.32 ERA, one complete game, five saves and 94 strikeouts in 132 innings pitched.
O'Brien was inducted into the Tennessee Baseball Hall of Fame in 1999 and later named to UT's All-Century Team.
NOTES ON O'BRIEN
- Full name is Paul Joseph O'Brien
- Led the Vols in innings pitched every year of his career
- Also wore numbers 22, 28, 32 and 38 while at UT
#15 Nathaniel Maggio
2014 | 1B | 6-4 | 220 lbs. | L/R | Alpharetta, Ga. (Blessed Trinity Catholic)
A 32nd round draftee by the Seattle Mariners out of high school, freshman first baseman Nathaniel Maggio comes to Tennessee from Alpharetta, Ga., and Blessed Trinity Catholic in Roswell, Ga. A four-year starter for the Titans, Maggio hit .390 with 35 RBIs, nine home run and five stolen bases as a senior. He also belted three homers in the Class AAA Semifinals matchup against North Hall as a senior.
Maggio was rated as the No. 2 first baseman and the 15th overall prospect in the state of Georgia by Perfect Game. One of the premier left-handed bats in the country, Maggio also rated No. 24 in the country on the 2013 Rawlings Top Prospects List and was a member of the 2011 and 2012 Perfect Game Underclass All-America Teams. A member of the East Cobb Braves 17U travel team, he helped the squad claim the 18U Perfect Game BCS Final title and finish second at the inaugural 17U Perfect Game World Series in 2012.
NOTES ON MAGGIO
- Full name is Nathaniel Paul Maggio
- Born Jan. 31, 1995
- Majoring in sport management