Feb. 7, 2014
2014 Schedule | UTTIX.com
The start of the 2014 Tennessee baseball season is just seven 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 continues this week on Rocky Top as the Diamond Vols are in action Tuesday through Sunday, with scrimmages set for Friday, Saturday and Sunday. 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.
Twenty four Vols have worn the No. 7 for the Orange and White and freshman and Memphis native Jordan Rodgers will become the 25th in just one week. Not too long ago the number belonged to Collierville, Tenn., native Andy Simunic. He came to UT in 2007 and played his junior and senior years with the Volunteers.
#7 Andy Simunic
2007-08 | OF/INF | 6-0 | 170 lbs. | Collierville, Tenn. (Collierville HS)
A 2004 graduate of Collierville High School, Andy Simunic joined the Volunteers after playing two seasons at Chattanooga State Technical Community College. He proved to be the most versatile player on the roster and one of UT's top offensive threats in his first season. He led the team in hitting for much of the season - finishing with a .333 average - and started at five different positions. Simunic posted a team-best 75 hits, 12 doubles 27 RBIs and 29 stolen bases to lead the Southeastern Conference. He hit .325 in SEC play with 37 hits, seven RBIs and nine steals. In the SEC Tournament, Simunic has two hits and scored twice as UT defeated No. 1 Vanderbilt.
Simunic earned the team's Steve Searcy Most Improved Player Award and the Phil Garner Defensive Player Award in 2007.
Simunic transitioned to second base out of necessity in 2008, starting all 48 games he appeared at the position. He once again led the Vols on the bases, stealing 20 bags to up his two-year total to an impressive 49. He also helped the Vols turn 32 of UT's 53 double plays on the season. Simunic finished with a .297 batting average with eight RBIs and nine doubles.
The Tennesean was drafted by the Houston Astros in the 17th round of the 2008 MLB Draft and is entering his seventh season of professional baseball in 2014. Simunic worked his way up the Houston organization and over the past three seasons has played in 55 games for the Triple-A Oklahoma City RedHawks. In 2013, the outfielder hit .278 for OKC, driving in 15 runs on 40 hits and stealing nine bases.
NOTES ON SIMUNIC
- Majored in sociology/criminal justice at UT
- Graduated from Collierville High School in Collierville, Tenn.
- Born Aug. 7, 1985, in Bloomington, Ind.
#7 Jordan Rodgers
2014 | INF | 6-1 | 185 lbs. | R/R | Memphis, Tenn. (Memphis University School)
A two-sport stud at Memphis University School - starting shortstop and quarterback - Jordan Rodgers knows how to lead and how to win. He led the Owls' baseball team to regional championships in 2001 and 20012, finishing as the state runner-up both seasons. He also helped guide the football team to a 2010 state championships and finished as the Tennessee Division-II-AA state runner-ups in 2012. He was named a Mr. Football finalist in the state of Tennessee and tabbed the regional player of the year in 2012 for his performance on the gridiron. He threw for an impressive 2,851 yards, 35 touchdowns and just five interceptions while leading the Owls to a 10-3 record as a senior.
On the diamond, Rodgers was ranked by Perfect Game as the No. 4 shortstop and the 34th-best overall prospect in the state of Tennessee. He earned PG Southeast Region Honorable Mention honors in 2013 and was an Underclass Honorable Mention All-American in 2012. He batted .345 with eight homer and went 6-2 on the mount as a senior and hit .344 with five home runs and an 8-2 pitching mark as a junior. Rodgers was named all-metro and second team all-state as a senior, as well as a Commercial Appeal Best of the Preps finalist.
NOTES ON RODGERS
- Full name is Jordan Taylor Rodgers
- Models himself after New York Yankee Derek Jeter and considers him to be his biggest sports influence
- Desires to one day be a manager in Major League Baseball
- Major is currently undecided