Tag Archives: SEC

CBB Top Position Players for 2008

Pedro Alvarez, Vanderbilt.
This hard-hitting, Junior third baseman from Horace Mann High School in the Bronx, New York is one of the pre-season favorites for the Golden Spikes Award and was the only 2007 Golden Spikes finalist to return in 2008. Alvarez is lethal at the plate, as a career .360 batter with an NCAA high 40 career home runs (among active players). In 2006, he hit .329 with 22 home runs and 64 RBI en route to earning National Freshman of the Year. In 2007, he improved to .386, 18, 68, which leading Vanderbilt to a number 1 ranking for the majority of the season. Alvarez is deadly from the left side of the plate and is protected in Coach Tim Corbin’s lineup by being sandwiched between another pair of returning all-America players, RF Dominic De la Osa (.378, 20, 62) and SS Ryan Flaherty (.381, 4, 57). Alvarez is also a spectacular fielder with cat-like reflexes and a cannon arm; however, Pedro’s flair for the dramatic defensive play also leads to his fair share of errors. Those errors and a tendency to strikeout too often will be the items Alvarez looks to improve in his swan song season.

Dominic de la Osa, Vanderbilt
Hitting in the coveted “Mickey Mantle spot” (in front of Pedro Alvarez, as Mantle did when Roger Maris hit 61), Dominic de la Osa exploded in 2007, proving to be one of the top speed-power guys in the nation. Entering last season with a .300 average and 16 home runs in solid, if unspectacular Freshman and Sophomore years, “of the Bear” set career highs with a .378 average, 65 runs, 23 doubles, 20 home runs and 20 stolen bases. A consensus first team All-America, de la Osa was expected to be a first day pick in the MLB draft before plummeting to the 10th round and the Tigers. An abysmal summer on the Cape left de la Osa with more to prove and he returned to man Rightfield as a Senior for Coach Corbin.

Justin Smoak, South Carolina
Joining Brett Wallace and Yonder Alonso as the elite first basemen in College Baseball, Smoak enters his Junior year in second place on the career homerun list among active players. As a Freshman, he hit .303 with 17 homeruns and 63 RBI. Smoak improved on those numbers last year, hitting .317 with 19 homeruns and another 63 RBI. Most impressive, however, is Smoak’s patience, with 94 walks against 79 strikeouts. The switch-hitting lefty is also thrifty with the glove, sporting a career .994 fielding percentage. Smoak is perfectly positioned for a true, breakout season in a good hitter’s ballpark.

Yonder Alonso, Miami

Alonso was named the top first baseman in the Cape Cod League in 2007. He hit an outstanding .338 for the summer after hitting .376 with 18 homers during the 2007 season for the Hurricanes. Alonso is a patient hitter as he walked 64 times during the collegiate season and 36 times in the CCBL. He only struck out 56 times combined. He needs to work on his defense as he is limited to playing only first base. He should develop more power before getting drafted in 2008 as he will become stronger and a better hitter. Alonso should be able to compete for many National Player of the Year awards in 2008 in addition to conference accolades.

Buster Posey, Florida State

Posey is one of the College Baseball Blog’s favorite players. He moved to catcher before the 2007 season as the Seminoles had an opening behind the plate. Buster hit .382 with 3 homers and 65 RBI at FSU while spending his summer with the Yarmouth-Dennis Red Sox where he batted .281 as he struggled to adjust to the Cape Cod League pitching. One scout told us that Posey improved his draft stock with the move behind the plate but needs to refine his catching skills as he is raw at calling games and blocking pitches. Posey should be one of the top catchers in the ACC competing with Tim Federowicz for conference awards. The CBB will be seeing Posey this season when FSU comes to Boston College for a three game set. The CBB expects Posey to be drafted in the top five rounds of the 2008 draft.

Brett Wallace, Arizona State

Wallace led the Sun Devils back to the College World Series in 2007 where he hit an outstanding .404 for the season while hitting 16 home runs. He won the Pac 10 Triple Crown as was named the Player of the Year in the conference. Brett spent the summer of 2007 with the USA National team where he competed in the Pan-Am Games and the World Port Tournament. He hit .312 with two homers and 26 RBI for the summer. Wallace is a big guy as he is listed at 6’1 245 pounds so he struggles in the field and will likely be stuck at first base in MLB or moved to DH if he is put in the American League.

Thanks to NewYorkDore for helping out with some of the previews.

Alabama announces 2008 schedule!

The University of Alabama announced its 2008 baseball schedule today, which features 33 games in the state of Alabama and 20 games against teams that played in the 2007 NCAA Regionals, Super Regionals and College World Series.

The recent changes to the college baseball schedules have forced teams to play more games in a shorter period of time, creating five-game weeks for most teams throughout the country. Alabama is no different and the complexity of the schedule will have the Tide playing 26 road games this season, the most under head coach Jim Wells and the most by UA since playing 26 road games during the 1994 season.

“It was a very challenging schedule to put together due to the change in the format of the season,” Alabama head coach Jim Wells said. “First of all, we play in the toughest league in the country, then on top of that to have to play two midweek games makes it even more difficult.

“The NCAA’s uniform start date for all teams is Feb. 22, so we lost two weekends of baseball that we used to have,” Wells added. “I think we have a good schedule and we are playing some really good teams. We are on the road quite a bit this year, but most of the road games are in the state of Alabama against some really good in-state teams. We are excited to be going to Florence, Birmingham, Montgomery, Mobile and Jacksonville to showcase the Crimson Tide baseball program. I think that is a good thing.”

The Crimson Tide will play 30 home games this season, including 15 non-conference games and 15 SEC games.

The non-conference home schedule includes series with Cal Poly (Feb. 22-24), Youngstown State (March 7-9) and New Orleans (March 18-19). The Crimson Tide will also play single games against Troy (March 5), Samford (March 12), Jacksonville State (March 25), UAB (April 1), Mississippi Valley State (April 8), SE Louisiana (April 9) and Lipscomb (April 22).

Alabama’s 2008 SEC home schedule features defending SEC Champion Vanderbilt (March 21-23), Ole Miss (March 28-30), Mississippi State (April 18-20), Auburn (April 25-27) and Florida (May 9-11).

Press Release

Schedule

Vanderbilt Fall Series Recap

The Vanderbilt Commodores finished up the Black and Gold Scrimmage over the weekend with the Gold team winning Game 1 by a score of 7-4. The Gold team was led by All-American Pedro Alvarez who went 2-4 including a homer with 2 RBI. Nick Christiani started the game for the Gold team going five strong innings while only allowing two hits to get the victory. Brett Jacobsen started for the Black squad and lasted five innings while giving up three runs on six hits. The leading hitter for the Black team was Parker Hanks who went 2-4. Game 2 was won by the Black team 7-4. The team was led by a very strong pitching performance from Mike Minor who pitched five no-hit innings while allowing only one walk to dominate the Gold lineup. Parker Hanks led the Black team again with three hits and three RBI in five at-bats. Dominic de la Osa led the Gold team in a losing effort by going 2-3. The final and deciding game on Sunday was won by the Gold team 6-2. The team was led on offense by Gabe Ortiz who went 2-4 with 3 RBI. We have linked to interviews and recaps from each day of the Fall Series below.

Game 1: Recap
Game 1″ Box Score
Game 1: Photo Gallery

Game 1: Interview with Nick Christiani

Game 2: Recap
Game 2: Box Score
Game 2: Interview with Tim Corbin

Game 3: Recap
Game 3: Box Score
Game 3: Interview with Tim Corbin

Game 3: Interview with De la Osa

Fall Ball Update for October 24th


Here is the CBB Fall Ball update for October 24th. Click on the links below for the full articles.

Utah: Wrapping up Fall workouts
Wright State: Fall World Series Update
Vanderbilt: Feinberg Interview
UNLV: Beuerlein Right in Line
Washington: Fall World Series Update
Oregon State: Fall World Series Update from Daily Barometer
LSU: Gold takes Game 2 of Intersquad Series from Daily Reveille

Ole Miss Fall Checkup

Kendall Rogers of Rivals.com checks in on Mike Bianco’s Rebel workouts in the Fall. The article (found here) includes Bianco’s reaction to Ole Miss’ historical bad luck in the Super Regionals and the joys of added depth.

After a Supers exit to Arizona State last year, this member of the College Baseball Blog sees redemption for the Rebs (no, the South isn’t rising again) as the SEC team to beat. Lance Lynn and Cody Satterwhite will be the closest thing to this year’s version of the David Price – Casey Weathers combo that Vanderbilt wore to a #1 ranking. Add in solid pitching and positional depth, and the Rebs are well positions to be the #1 seed in the SEC West when the conference descends on Hoover.

Tennessee Announces 2008 Baseball Schedule

Tennessee head baseball coach Todd Raleigh released the team’s 2008 schedule. In addition to the traditional gauntlet of Southeastern Conference opponents, the Volunteers also will square off against four non-conference teams who advanced to NCAA Regional play last season.

Of the 56 scheduled regular-season games, 16 will be against 2007 NCAA Tournament teams. A total of 13 teams on UT’s 2008 schedule turned in a top-64 finish in the NCAA Ratings Percentage Index (RPI) last year.

“This is a good schedule with some really strong opponents, though it’s still not what I’d ultimately like for it to be,” Raleigh said. “We’ve given up some home games this year for the sake of securing multiple home dates with those opponents in the future. When our stadium renovations are complete, I’d like to play close to 40 home games while increasing our strength of schedule across the board.

“Most of this year’s schedule was set before our staff arrived, so our hands were tied in many instances for this first year. With that said, it will still be a challenging season. We’re working extremely hard this fall to prepare.”

Friday, Feb. 22—the new NCAA-mandated uniform start date that will create a true national “Opening Day” for college baseball —will provide Big Orange fans with their first glimpse of the Vols, as UT begins a three-game homestand against Morehead State at Robert M. Lindsay Field at Lindsey Nelson Stadium. It is the first of 33 regular-season home games.

The Vols’ pre-conference schedule is highlighted by a return trip to Houston for the Minute Maid College Classic. Tennessee is slated to face Big 12 Conference stalwarts Texas, Texas Tech and Oklahoma at the event, which takes place at Minute Maid Park, home stadium of the Houston Astros. The Vols also took part in the 2005 Minute Maid College Classic, posting a 1-2 record.

Due to the NCAA’s new start date, there are only three weekends of play before UT enters the conference portion of its schedule. Tennessee’s home SEC series feature matchups against LSU (March 14-16), Florida (April 4-6), Alabama (April 11-13), Vanderbilt (May 2-4) and Kentucky (May 9-11).

The Vols will venture out on the road to battle conference foes Georgia (March 21-23), Auburn (March 28-30), Arkansas (April 18-20) and Mississippi State (April 25-27) before closing out the regular season at South Carolina (May 15-17).

Ole Miss is the only team UT will not face during the 30-game regular-season SEC schedule.

Tennessee has home-and-home series set with ETSU, Furman and Middle Tennessee, non-return road games at Lipscomb, and Tennessee Tech and exclusive home dates with Morehead State, James Madison, Eastern Michigan, Presbyterian College, USC Upstate, Charlotte, Appalachian State, Western Carolina and Belmont.

The Vols’ longest homestand is a nine-game stretch from March 5-16. Tennessee will play four straight road games on five different occasions. And six weeks of the 12-week regular-season schedule will feature multiple midweek games.

The 2008 SEC Tournament is set for May 21-25 at Regions Park in Hoover, Ala. NCAA Regional play takes place May 30-June 2, with NCAA Super Regionals slated for June 6-9. The NCAA College World Series runs June 14-25 at Rosenblatt Stadium in Omaha, Neb.

Fox Sports Net South/SEC-TV has announced that it will televise two Tennessee home games. The Vols’ April 5 contest against Florida and May 3 game against Vanderbilt both will be televised regionally on Fox Sports Net South.

SportSouth also will televise a number of UT home games, which will be announced at a later date.

Tennessee Press Release

Commodores open with Beavers, ASU in 2008

NASHVILLE, Tenn. –Vanderbilt opens the 2008 baseball season against two-time defending champion Oregon State as head coach Tim Corbin released the schedule today. The Commodores will take on four teams that played in the College World Series a year ago and 11 teams that made it into the NCAA tournament.

“I think this is a challenging schedule right off the bat with two teams that made it to Omaha last season including the national champion, ” said Corbin. “The SEC schedule is always tough and we have several midweek games against teams that made it to the NCAA tournament as well. We have an experienced team returning and look forward to the challenge.”

The season opener against the Beavers will be played on Feb. 22 at Arizona State’s tournament in Tempe, Ariz. VU will also take on 2007 CWS participant Arizona State (Feb. 23) and Miami of Ohio (Feb. 24) in the tourney. Vanderbilt starts a 15-game homestand against Evansville on Feb. 27 at 4 p.m. VU hosts Kansas, Iowa and Xavier in the Music City Classic Feb. 29-March 2. The Commodores will play a four-game series with Illinois-Chicago starting on Thursday, March 6 and ending on March 9. The Flames won the Horizon League last spring and participated in the NCAA tournament.

VU hosts another NCAA tourney team in Western Carolina (March 11-12) before opening Southeastern Conference play against South Carolina (March 14-16) at Hawkins Field. Louisville, a team that advanced to its first ever College World Series last June, comes to Nashville for a single game on March 18. Vanderbilt will close out the homestand against Lipscomb on March 19.

VU will make five SEC road trips in 2008, starting with Alabama on March 21-23. The Commodores will then return home for midweek games against Belmont (March 25) and Middle Tennessee (March 26), before hosting Arkansas (March 28-30). Saturday’s game against the Razorbacks will be televised on Fox Sports Net at 3 p.m. CT.

Eleven road games are on the docket in April starting with a contest at Middle Tennessee (April 2). Vanderbilt will then take the first of back-to-back trips to Mississippi against Ole Miss (April 4-6). The Commodores will host Western Kentucky (April 8) and Austin Peay (April 9) in midweek action before traveling to Starkville, Miss., to take on 2007 CWS participant Mississippi State (April 11-13). Two road contests against Lipscomb (April 15) and Western Kentucky (April 16) precede a three-game series against Auburn (April 18-20) at Hawkins Field. The Commodores close out April with games at Austin Peay (April 22) and Belmont (April 23), and at home against Kentucky (April 25-27).

VU will open May with a three-game set at rival Tennessee (May 2-4), with the Saturday game set for television on Fox Sports Net. The Commodores will then take on Memphis at Pringles Park in Jackson, Tenn., on May 6. The Tigers were one of two area teams to play at the NCAA Nashville Regional along with Austin Peay last June. Tennessee Tech (May 7) and a series against Georgia (May 9-11) closes out the regular season home campaign. Vanderbilt will take on Florida (May 15-17) in Gainesville in a Thursday-Friday-Saturday series as eligible teams will have an extra day to prepare for the Southeastern Conference tournament (May 21-25) in Birmingham, Ala.

NCAA Regionals (May 30-June 2) and Super Regionals (June 6-9) will be played at school host sites, while the College World Series (June 14-25) is set for Omaha, Neb.

The full Commodores schedule is available here.

Corbin Lands Another Top Rated ‘09 Recruit

The College Baseball Blog has been closely following the monster class that Coach Tim Corbin and Recruiting Coordinator Erik Bakich have been assembling. The class includes an incredible amount of talent and will continue in the tradition of Bakich reeling in top talent. In six years on West End, Bakich has landed a top 25 rated class in each year, including the #1 rated class of 2006 that included current All-Americans Pedro Alvarez and Ryan Flaherty.

The latest HS Senior to commit to Coach Corbin is Joseph Loftus of Academy of Holy Angels (Savage, MN). As a junior, Loftus hit .531 with 9 homers and 34 RBI in 64 ABs. He earned a trip to the Area Code Games and was rated a 10 of 10 by Perfect Game USA. Mike Rapp identified Loftus as one of Vanderbilt’s three remaining targets in a VandySports.com article last month. Mike noted that Loftus was considering offers from Arizona State and Notre Dame.

Loftus and Jason Esposito are expected to battle it out to replace Pedro Alvarez at third in 2009. Alvarez is expected by many to be a candidate for the first overall pick in the 2008 MLB Draft. Alvarez’ former teammate, David Price, took that honor in 2007.

Loftus joins the following players in the Commodores class of 2009:
RHP Jack Armstrong (Jupiter, FL)
RHP Will Clinard (Clarksville, TN)
3B/SS Jason Esposito (Bethany, CT)
LHP Grayson Garvin (Atlanta, GA)
RHP Sonny Gray (Smyrna, TN)
OF Matt Marquis (Annandale, NJ)
OF Adam Milligan (Walters State)
RHP Navery Moore (Nashville, TN)
1B/C Dylan Pratt (Walter State)
RHP/OF Ryan Westmoreland (Portsmouth, NH)
LHP Corey Williams (Huntsville, AL)

Of the 10 high school recruits, Perfect Game gave its perfect 10 rating to all but Moore (did not attend showcase), Westmoreland (did not attend showcase, 9 in 2006) and Williams (9.5).

Mississippi State releases 2008 schedule

STARKVILLE, Miss. – Twenty-two games against 2007 NCAA Tournament participants and a 31-game slate of contests at Dudy Noble Field highlight Mississippi State University’s 56-game baseball schedule for 2008.

Mississippi State opens its 118th season of baseball and veteran skipper Ron Polk’s 29th coaching campaign with the Bulldogs Feb. 22-24 in Jacksonville, Fla., with a three-game road series against first-time foe North Florida.

State ushers in its 31-game 2008 home schedule February 26 against UAB, the first game of a season-longest 14-game homestand for the Diamond Dogs. During that stretch State hosts another first-time foe, Air Force, in a three-game series and meets Big 12 Conference power Baylor in the three-game Cadence Bank Challenge. MSU wraps up the early-season run of home games and launches SEC competition Mar. 14-16 with a three-game series against instate league rival Ole Miss.

Baylor is the first of eight teams on MSU’s 2008 schedule that advanced to the 2007 NCAA Tournament. Austin Peay State University, Memphis and Southern Miss along with SEC foes Arkansas, Ole Miss, Vanderbilt and South Carolina also reached the 64-team field of the NCAA Tournament last season. Three of those opponents (Arkansas, Ole Miss and South Carolina) advanced to NCAA Super Regional competition.

Other opponents scheduled to visit Dudy Noble Field in the coming season are Arkansas-Little Rock, Memphis and South Alabama along with SEC rivals Arkansas, Georgia, Tennessee and Vanderbilt. The MSU-Georgia baseball series March 28-30 anchors MSU’s annual spring homecoming celebration, Super Bulldog Weekend.

The Bulldogs are scheduled to make one appearance in 2008 at Trustmark Park in Pearl, Miss., taking on Ole Miss Apr. 15 in the second annual Governor’s Cup game.

Two Mississippi State baseball games have been selected for live broadcast by the SEC’s Regional Sports Network (RSN) as part of the SEC game of the week television series shown on FOX Sports Net South. MSU’s May 10 game at LSU and a regular season-ending May 17 home matchup with Arkansas are part of the league’s eight-game TV package.

MSU returns 20 letter-winners and 14 players who drew starts on the 2007 State team that finished with a 38-22 record and advanced to the NCAA College World Series in Omaha, Neb.

2008 MSU schedule

Rivals mailbag

Our favorite Rivals writer Kendall Rogers checks in with a mailbag column talking about some of the challenges Vanderbilt is facing with the loss of David Price, a preview of Arizona State, the future of Memphis baseball, and finally Texas AM utility player Blake Stouffer chances of winning National Player of the Year. The article is available here.