Tag Archives: SEC

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.

All American SS Flaherty Suffers Freak Injury

Vandysports.com’s Mike Rapp sat down with Commodore Shortstop Ryan Flaherty. “Flash”, as the ’07 3rd Team All-American (Rivals.com) Shortstop is known, was injured last week when a routine grounder took a freak hop and popped him in the eye.

Flaherty suffered a broken orbital bone, but is expected to return to practice in the next two weeks with the help of a protective facemask.

Flaherty is riding a VU record 35 game hitting streak into 2008. As a Sophomore, Flaherty hit .381, with 23 doubles, 59 runs and 57 RBI. He was named to Team USA and has had a stellar .969 Fielding Percentage each of the past two years. Flaherty led Vanderbilt in hitting (.339) as a true Freshman.

Flash is the son of College Baseball Hall of Famer Ed Flaherty, the head coach at Southern Maine University.

Rivals.com subscribers can read Mike Rapp’s article here.

What’s In Store for 2008

Kendall Rogers of Rivals.com has been busy churning out quality content. Some of his latests items include:

- A rundown of the issues for SEC teams in 2008

- The same rundown for Big 12 squads

- A pre-Fall listing of the top 25 teams heading into the next season (not really a top 25, but rather a 25 teams to watch, listed in alphabetical order).

In his latest Mailbag, Kendall also discusses Irvine, Wake Forest, Oregon and Oregon State, and the differences between Fresno State and San Diego.

Commodores land another All-American

What does it feel like to recruit running backs like Southern Cal? Probably a lot like how Coach Tim Corbin feels when he’s recruiting arms. Corbin has nailed down a seventh big time Pitcher for the ’09 recruiting class.

This one might be the biggest. Adding in a two top JuCo transfers, an elite third sacker and a stud outfielder, and Coach Erik Bakich is close to finishing up recruiting for the current cycle.

Mike Rapp reports on the newest commitment and on the three blue chippers that the Commodores are believed to still be waiting to hear from. You can read the article here if you’re a Rivals.com subscriber.

The latest commitment comes after three weekends in a row in which the Commodores hosted top recruiting prospects, including the blue chippers above referenced. They follow a recruiting class from which Bakich and Corbin escaped Draft-unscathed. Highlighting the new Commodores are potential true-Freshman impact players Catcher Curtis Casali, Pitcher Chase Reid, and Firstbaseman Aaron Westlake. Expected to have more time to grow are high ceiling Pitcher Kellen St. Luce and Outfielder Joey Manning.

Vandy finds last piece to ‘09 infield

One of the more intriguing questions to arise out of Hawkins Field is how one fills the looming gap when projected top 2008 Draft Pick Pedro Alvarez departs his 3B spot on West End this fall. Alvarez has been a force since spurning the advances of Theo Epstein and the Boston Red Sox to get his baseball education and sheepskin at Vanderbilt. As a freshman, he set a VU record with 22 bombs en route to consensus Freshman of the Year and All-American status. As a sophomore, he put up staggering numbers as the cleanup hitter. Each of the past two summers, he’s carried the banner for Team USA at the plate, leading the squad in batting average and other categories.

So who will step into the enviable task of replacing Petey for Coach Tim Corbin? Chris Lee, Mike Rapp and Jesse Johnson of VandySports.com confirmed rumors of a commitment in the premium section of the Rivals.com affiliated site more than a month ago. Nevertheless, due to the College Baseball Blog’s attribution policy, we have chosen not to report on the development out of respect for VandySports.com’s terms of service. Recently, the commitment has been acknowledged on the sites free baseball board allowing us to report that Bethany, Connecticut star Jason Esposito committed to the Commodores and is pencilled in for the competition at third. Esposito was a Connecticut rival of ’08 prize recruit Curt Casali and a summer league teammate of fellow blue chip ’09 recruit Matt Marquis.

Like Alvarez, Esposito is a well-framed, athletic corner man with a massive arm. He stands 6-2, 185 and throws 90 off the hill, according to Perfect Game, which rated Esposito a 10 of 10, indicating high draft round talent. Esposito joins recruits Sonny Gray, Matt Marquis, Will Clinard, Grayson Garvin, Corey Williams, Ryan Westmoreland and Navery Moore and transfer Dylan Pratt in a class that seems poised to surpass the Alvarez-Flaherty led 2005 class rated #1 by Baseball America.

Although positions aren’t guaranteed at Vanderbilt or any other major program, Esposito would project to have the inside track at earning the starting 3B job as a true freshman. The other projected infield starters for 2009 season include (class year in 2009) Sophomore Aaron Westlake at 1B, Redshirt Sophomore Alex Hilliard or Junior Brian Harris at 2B, Redshirt Freshman Gabe Ortiz at Short and Sophomore Curt Casali at Catcher.