Feb. 8, 2014
2014 Schedule | UTTIX.com
The start of the 2014 Tennessee baseball season is just six 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.
In total, 29 Vols have worn the No. 6 for the Orange and White and sophomore infielder Jeff Moberg will wear it again this season. In the late 1990s, the jersey belonged to one of UT's all-time greats, Jeff Pickler. Pickler went on to become of of the program's three SEC Players of the Year after posting remarkable numbers during the 1998 campaign.
#6 Jeff Pickler
1996-98 | INF | 5-10 | 185 lbs. | Santa Ana, Calif. (Foothill HS/Cypress College)
After playing for his father Scott Pickler at Cypress Community College in California as a freshman, Jeff Pickler transferred to Tennessee the season after UT made its second College World Series run. Over three seasons with the Volunteers, Picker re-wrote the record books and still stands in the top 10s in many categories. Currently, Pickler ranks third all-time at UT with 259 career hits - behind only Chris Burke (314) and Todd Helton (280). He also stands sixth in career batting average (.375) and runs scored (157) and fifth in career doubles (55).
But it was specifically the 1998 season - Pickler's senior campaign - that puts him up in the all-time great category. Pickler was named the 1998 Southeastern Conference Player of the Year after leading the league with a .445 average, which ranked eighth nationally and was the sixth-highest in league history. He astounded the baseball pundits by posting a .500 batting average in conference action.
The consensus All-American garnered first-team honors from Collegiate Baseball, Baseball America, Baseball Weekly, The Sporting News, the American Baseball Coaches Association and the National Collegiate Baseball Writers Association. Pickler was also named first-team Academic All-America as well as being a three-time Academic All-SEC honoree, even earning the Chancellor's Citation for Academic Excellence from the University.
The second baseman led the SEC in fielding at his position in 1998 while setting a then-school record with 109 hits while reaching base safely in 53 of the Vols' 55 games. He reeled off the second-longest hitting streak in school history (26 games) while tying the school record with a six-hit game.
Pickler was drafted in the 11th round by the Milwaukee Brewers in 1998 and went on to play eight seasons in the minor leagues. He hit .299 in the minors with 1,023 hits, including 165 doubles.
In 2009, Pickler took a job with the University of Arizona as an assistant coach, and was a scout for the San Diego Padres in 2010. Since 2011, Pickler has been the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim's minor league defensive coordinator.
NOTES ON PICKLER
- Full name is Jeff Blaine Pickler
- Sister, Kari, was an actress on Broadway
- Majored in marketing at Tennessee
#6 Jeff Moberg
2013-14 | INF | 5-9 | 155 lbs. | R/R | Murrieta, Calif. (Vista Murrieta HS)
Sophomore infielder Jeff Moberg - another California native - appeared in 36 games as a freshman in 2013, including 25 starts. He also made one appearance on the mound in relief at Kentucky, going 0.1 innings and picking up his first collegiate save. He finished his rookie season with a .242 batting average with two doubles and 10 RBIs. As a freshman, Moberg led the Vols with 12 sacrifice bunts. He was also 4-for-4 on stolen base attempts and scored 12 runs on the season.
He graduated from Vista Murrieta High School, where he hit .346 as a senior and .483 as a junior. Moberg claimed 2012 Louisville Slugger High School Honorable Mention All-American accolades and earned League MVP honors in 2010 and 2011. He also posted a 5-2 record on the mound over two seasons and had a 19-game hitting streak to open his junior campaign.
NOTES ON MOBERG
- Full name is Jeff Paul Moberg
- Born July 18, 1994
- Has two siblings, Jack and Jake
- Majoring in criminal justice