Feb. 1, 2014
2014 Schedule | UTTIX.com
The start of the 2014 Tennessee baseball season is just 13 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, 26 Vols have worn the Orange and White No. 13, and Knoxville native freshman Nick Senzel will become the 27th on opening day in 13 days. In the mid 1980s, the jersey belonged to left-handed pitcher and Knoxville native Steve Searcy, who played professionally for the Tigers and Phillies and was later inducted into the Tennessee Baseball Hall of Fame.
#13 Steve Searcy
1983-85 | LHP | L/L | 6-1 | 190 lbs. | Knoxville, Tenn. (Central HS)
An all-district player out of Central High School here in Knoxville, Steve Searcy came to the University of Tennessee in 1983. Searcy went 3-1 with a 2.60 ERA as a rookies, starting six games and appearing in 11. He struck out 19 over 34.2 innings. His 2.60 ERA is Tennessee's single-season record for the category (min. 30 innings pitched).
An injury on the Vols' roster put Searcy in the No. 1 pitching spot as a sophomore, and he delivered. He led the team in wins (9), ERA (2.45), appearances (16), starts (12), complete games (7), innings pitched (95.1) and strikeouts (74). His 95.1 innings were at the time a school record. He was part of a combined no-hitter in 1984, blanking Tusculum for an inning. Five Vols combined for the no-hitter in the 13-0 UT victory. Searcy earned All-SEC Eastern Division honors as a sophomore.
Searcy posted a team-leading five wins as a junior to go along with a 4.65 ERA. He struck out 40 in 60 innings pitched that season.
The Knoxville native was drafted by the Detroit Tigers in the third round of the 1985 MLB Draft. After minor league stints, he made his pro debut on August 29, 1988. Searcy would pitch four seasons for the Tigers before being traded to the Philadelphia Phillies. He threw two seasons in Philadelphia. Serving primarily as a reliever, Searcy finished his pro career with six wins, a 5.68 ERA and 140 strikeouts over 187.0 innings pitched.
Searcy was inducted into the Tennessee Baseball Hall of Fame in 2001. UT's Most Improved Player Award is also named after Searcy.
NOTES ON SEARCY
- Majored in sociology at Tennessee
- Was 13-1 at Knoxville's Central H.S.
- Nickname is "Searse"
#13 Nick Senzel
2014 | INF | 6-1 | 205 lbs. | R/R | Knoxville, Tenn. (Farragut HS)
Like Searcy, freshman infielder Nick Senzel is a Knoxville product. Playing his high school ball at Farragut, Senzel earned all-state, all-district, PrepXtra first team and All-KIL honors following his senior season. He was also ranked as the No. 11 prospect in the state and the No. 17 second baseman in the nation by Perfect Game. Senzel also earned Rawlings Southeast Region Second Team honors.
He hit a team-high .386 with 42 RBIs, 14 doubles, five home runs and four triples as a senior. He helped the Admirals go 35-9 and claim the District 4-AAA Championship, Region 2-AAA Championship and finish as the TSSAA State Runner-ups his senior season. He won a state title with the Admirals in 2011. Batted .404 with 46 RBIs and eight homers and hit .360 in 2012 and 2011, respectively.
NOTES ON SENZEL
- Full name is Nicholas Peter Senzel
- Lists his father as his biggest sports influence
- Chose Tennessee because it was the best decision athletically and academically