Vanderbilt opened preseason practice Friday with temperatures hovering in the mid 30s and a rain-soaked Hawkins Field. A year ago the Commodores would likely not have been able to practice but that was before the installation of the new turf that now covers the Dores' home field.
After a team meeting to explain the day's practice schedule, the second-ranked team in the nation hit the field for the team's first official practice of the 2013 season. For new pitching coach Scott Brown it was his first practice as a Commodore after joining the staff after the conclusion of fall practice. Head Coach Tim Corbin asked Brown's opinion of his first day in Black & Gold following the day's work. Brown voiced his approval of the squad's effort on the day.
"Good, I'm glad you enjoyed it. We did it all for you," Corbin quipped.
Hit the ball on the ground The Commodores wrapped up the team's first day of practice with a ground ball scrimmage. The obvious point of the game is to hit the ball on the ground, regardless of where the ball is hit. The team is divided into two squads and players/teams can acquire points in a variety of ways. The game starts with a runner on base and the batter only gets two pitches to produce some action. Offensive players can score points with balls hit on the ground and the team picks up points for each base that runners reach. Offensive players lose points by hitting fly balls or line drives, not swinging at a pitch or hitting the ball up the middle (the batter approaches the at-bat in a hit and run situation). The defense loses points by throwing to the wrong base or committing errors. Everyone loses points by not hustling.
The game produces lots of communication - some calling for pop ups but mostly trash talk.
On Tap Vanderbilt is back on the practice field tomorrow morning with a team intrasquad scrimmage scheduled for noon.
Get your tickets! The Commodores' Baseball Banquet will be held February 9 at Student Life Center beginning with an autograph session from 6-7 p.m. and dinner to follow. Vanderbilt opens the season at home for the first time since 2010 when Long Beach State visits Hawkins field on February 15 at 4 p.m. For banquet ticket and season ticket information click here.