Feb. 12, 2014
2014 Schedule | UTTIX.com
The start of the 2014 Tennessee baseball season is just two 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.
Just 19 Vols have worn the No. 2 for the Orange and White, including current senior Taylor Smart. The infielder from Maple Valley, Wash., joined the Vols last season out of junior college. From 1999-2001, the jersey belonged to none other than Chris Burke. The most recent Tennessee Baseball Hall of Fame inductee, Burke rewrote the Tennessee record books.
#2 Chris Burke
1999-2001 | SS/2B | 5-11 | 185 lbs. | Louisville, Ky. (St. Xavier)
A three-year letter winner for the Big Orange from 1999-2001, Burke was a two-time All-SEC selection and two-time All-American while rewriting both Tennessee's single-season and career record books. He established six season marks and eight career standards and was the first Vol to ever hit for the cycle, doing so against Vanderbilt on May 11, 2001.
In 2001, Burke put together one of the best seasons ever by a UT player, becoming just the third Vol to be named the Southeastern Conference Player of the Year as he was bestowed the honor unanimously by the league coaches after hitting .435 with 20 home runs and 60 RBI while leading the Vols to the College World Series.
The consensus All-American garnered first-team honors from Baseball America, Baseball Weekly, Louisville Slugger/Collegiate Baseball, the National Collegiate Baseball Writers Association and the American Baseball Coaches Association/Rawlings. Burke was also a finalist for National Player of the Year honors as well as being named the NCBWA District III Player of the Year and selected for the ABCA/Rawlings All-South Region Team.
In leading the Vols to their third trip to Omaha, Burke was named to the all-tournament teams at the College World Series, NCAA Regional and the SEC Tournament. He was the only player in the SEC to hit better than .400 in 2001 and led the conference in eight different categories while ranking in the top 10 in four others.
Burke, who played both shortstop and second base at UT, left Knoxville as the No. 10 overall pick in the first round of the 2001 MLB Draft by the Houston Astros. He played six seasons in the Major Leagues before retiring in 2010. The highlight of his professional career came in the fourth game of the 2005 National League Division Series as he hit a series-winning, walk-off home run in the 18th inning against the Atlanta Braves.
NOTES ON BURKE
- Full name is Christopher Alan Burke
- Born March 11, 1980 in Louisville, Ky.
- Majored in arts & sciences at Tennessee
#2 Taylor Smart
2013-14 | INF | 5-11 | 180 lbs. | R/R | Maple Valley, Wash. (Tahoma HS)
Senior infielder Taylor Smart enters his second season at Tennessee after appearing in 49 as a junior in 2013. He made 46 starts, including 36 at second base, and finished the campaign with a .267 average with nine doubles, two home runs and 19 RBIs. Smart led the Vols in walks (23) and sacrifice flies (3). Best known for his glove, Smart earned the Phil Garner Defensive Player Award last season.
Smart played two seasons at Western Nevada College prior to coming to Tennessee and was the only player to start all 65 games for the Wildcats in 2012. Smart and the Wildcats posted a 48-17 record and reached the JUCO World Series in 2012. Smart claimed second team all-region honors. He led the team with 53 runs scored while posting a .407 on-base percentage with 34 RBIs and 12 stolen bases during his sophomore season.
Smart graduated from Tahoma High School, where he was a three-year letterwinner for the Bears. As a junior, had just one error and was named the team's Gold Glove winner. Smart was listed as one of the nation's Top 1000 players and 32nd-best player in Washington by Perfect Game in 2010.
NOTES ON SMART
- Full name is Taylor James Smart
- Born February 24, 1992
- Majoring in sociology
- His father, Dave, is the former head coach at Tahoma HIgh School and assistant coach at Bellevue Community College