Commodore Baseball Season Preview
Part 1: Infield
Jan. 29, 2007
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Senior Carter Hawkins provides veteran leadership and experience. He will serve as the backup at catcher and will occassionally see time at DH.
A pair of redshirt freshmen Andrew Giobbi and Jay Moreland will also serve apprenticeships behind the dish this season with more playing time expected in the future.
Junior Brad French was a catalyst for the Commodores down the stretch last season and will begin the year as the starter at first. The coaches love his contagious attitude and believe he was a big reason the Commodores won its last two SEC series and advanced to the conference tourney championship. He finished the year with a .312 average with three homers and 16 RBI.
Sophomore Kurt Lipton has moved from the outfield to first in order to better utilize his tall frame. He has power potential in his bat and should see some playing time if he can master the position.
Freshman Steven Liddle may also have an opportunity at first or at DH due to his quality bat. He hit over .500 last year at Franklin High and showed the ability to hit college pitching in the fall.
Junior Alex Feinberg had a solid year last season and will look to build on that as the starter at second. He hit .322 last year and took to second well after starting most of his freshman year at third base.
Redshirt freshman Brian Harris made strides in the weightroom and in his offensive development over the last year and should challenge for some playing time. He will also serve as the backup at short.
Sophomore Ryan Flaherty led the Commodores last year with a .339 batting average, 19 doubles and 49 RBI and earned honorable mention Freshman All-American honors. The coaches love his saavy play and expect him to become the leader of the infield.
Redshirt freshman Matt Shao will serve as a backup at short along with Harris and provides another quality defender in the infield.
Third baseman Alvarez, a first team preseason All-American, was a force for the Commodores as a freshman; he hit .327 and 64 RBI to go along with his school-record 22 homers. He was a unanimous selection as the National Freshman of the Year and had a star-making summer with USA Baseball's National Team, which is made up of the top collegiate players in the country. He was named the MVP of the USA-Japan Friendship Series after he led all batters with a .409 average, two doubles, a grand slam and nine RBI in the five-game skein, which the U.S. won 3-1-1. Alvarez is expected to be the driving force in the middle of the Vanderbilt lineup the next two seasons.
Newcomer Russell Brewer will serve as the backup at third and also has a promising future as a pitcher.