The Tennessee Volunteers travel to Miami to open the baseball season against the FIU Panthers. The last we saw of the Vols was during the SEC tournament at the end of last season. Tennessee finished with a 31-23 record, and was 12-18 in SEC play. As we discussed earlier this week, the biggest question for the Vols this season is in regards to the pitching rotation and bullpen. Bret Marks and Drake Owenby begin the year in the weekend rotation, a role neither has had before, and we will get an early glimpse of them this weekend.
The preseason SEC Coaches Poll and All-SEC teams were released yesterday. The Vols were chosen fourth in the East, behind Vanderbilt, Florida, and South Carolina. Junior left fielder Christin Stewart was named to the First Team All-SEC while sophomore second baseman Nick Senzel was a Second Team selection.
FIU is coming off of a 36-20 season where they finished tied for sixth in Conference USA. They enter this year projected to finish second behind Rice according to the C-USA Coaches Poll. FIU is returning a lot of talent from last season, including two preseason All-Conference USA members (Josh Anderson and Chris Mourelle) and a third team Baseball America preseason All-American selection (Edwin Rios). They also have talented freshman Garrett Cave on campus now, projected by D1Baseball.com to be the C-USA Freshman of the Year. If Cave does win that honor, he'd be the second Panther in a row, with Mourelle claiming it last season.
The Vols are 4-3 all time against FIU and have won the past three meetings. The last matchup was in a midweek game March 21, 2012 in Knoxville that saw UT win in extra innings 4-3.
Tennessee (0-0) at Florida International (0-0)
Date: Friday-Sunday February 13-15, 2015
First Pitch: 7 p.m. ET Friday, 6 p.m. ET Saturday, 1 p.m. ET Sunday at FIU Baseball Stadium, Miami, Florida
Probable Starting Pitchers: UT RHP Bret Marks vs FIU RHP Cody Crouse
UT LHP Drake Owenby vs FIU RHP Garrett Cave
UT RHP Kyle Serrano vs FIU RHP Chris Mourelle
Players to Keep an Eye on (2014 Stats):