Feb. 8, 2007
CN All Access (FREE): Watch All Three Commodore Games Live
CN All Access (FREE): 104.5 Interview with Tim Corbin (Parts I & II)
View Photos from Thursday's Practice | Game Notes | Live Stats | Free Radio | Preseason Central
VUcommodores.com will video webcast Vanderbilt's season opening series at the Houston College Classic this weekend starting with Friday's game against No. 1 Rice at noon CT. Fans can watch this FREE webcast by signing-up for Commodore Nation All Access.
This road trip marks the first time VUcommodores.com has webcast live video away from Hawkins Field.
What better way to spend your Friday at work than watching Tim Corbin and the No. 8 Commodores take on some of the best in collegiate baseball.
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No. 5/8/10/11 Vanderbilt
at the Houston Astros College Classic
Minute Maid Park (40,950)
vs. No. 1 Rice - Friday, Feb. 9 - Noon CT
vs. No. 6/12/14/16 Arizona State - Saturday, Feb. 10 - Noon CT
vs. No. 20/24/26 Baylor - Sunday, Feb. 11 - 2:30 p.m. CT
vs. Rice: Rice leads 2-0 all-time, both wins coming in 1990.
vs. Arizona State: Arizona State won the lone contest played 6-4 in 1973.
vs. Baylor: Baylor holds a 5-2 advantage in a series that dates back to 1999. The Bears won 4-1 the last time the two teams met in Nashville in 2005.
Vanderbilt is ranked in all the national polls, with a high ranking of No. 5 by Rivals.com.
Rice is the unanimous No. 1 team in the country by the five national polls.
Arizona State is ranked as high as No. 6 by Rivals.com
Baylor is ranked as high as No. 20 by Collegiate Baseball.
All of the National Polls can be found on page 6 of the release.
VU's Tim Corbin is 144-95 in his fifth season as head coach.
Rice's Wayne Graham is 685-271 in his 16th season as the Owls skipper.
ASU's Pat Murphy is 483-242-1 in his 13th season in Tempe.
BU's Steve Smith is 454-284-1 in his 13th season in Waco.
All of the games can be heard free via the internet through Yahoo and can be accessed using the following web page:
Saturday's contest against Arizona State will be broadcast locally in Nashville as well on WNSR 560 AM. Eric Jones will call all of the action this weekend for the Commodores, as well as most of the non-conference slate heading into SEC play. Live stats via Gametracker can also be accessed through the vucommodores.com website.
What's On Tap
Vanderbilt will open its 2007 campaign in what is most likely the toughest collegiate tournament in the country at the Houston Astros College Classic this weekend in Houston. The Commodores take on No. 1 ranked Rice to open things on Friday at noon at Minute Maid Park. VU will then take on No. 6 Arizona State on Saturday at noon, before closing things out against No. 20 Baylor on Sunday at 2:30 p.m.
Rice is 1-1 on the year after dropping a 3-2 decision to Texas State on Tuesday. The Owls opened the season with a 5-0 win over Central Missouri last Saturday. Rice returns seven starters off of last year's team that went 57-13 and advanced to the semifinals of the College World Series.
The Commodores will face junior college transfer Chris Kelley on Friday. The righthander went 16-4 with a 2.37 ERA in two years at San Jacinto College.
Shortstop Brian Friday is one of the top returnees from the offensive side after hitting .353 with nine homers and 57 RBI. Infielder Aaron Luna is the top returning power source after hitting .322 with 16 homers and 50 RBI en route to Freshman All-America honors.
Scouting Arizona State
Arizona State is 3-0 after sweeping Southern Utah over the weekend. ASU outscored its opponent 61-8 and blasted 20 doubles and six homers in the three games. The Sun Devils went 37-21 in 2006 and finished second in the Pac 10. Eight position starters return, headlined by sophomore slugger Ike Davis who opened this season on fire going 9-for-11 against Southern Utah with four doubles and nine runs scored. Outfielder Matt Spencer was named National Hitter of the Week after going 7-for-9 with two doubles, two homers and 13 RBI in his ASU debut.
The Commodores will face junior southpaw Josh Satow on Saturday. He picked up the win on Feb. 3 after giving up three runs, one earned, on five hits with seven strikeouts and two walks in five innings of work.
Baylor returns five starters from last year's 37-26 team that reached the NCAA Houston Regional finals before falling to Rice.
Sophomore shortstop Beamer Weems is the top returning power source after hitting .297 with eight homers and 47 RBI a year ago.
Junior righthander Jeff Mandel will get the start on the hill against VU on Sunday. He went 2-3 in 2006 with a 4.40 ERA and struck out 38 in 57.1 innings. The Bears will take on Houston and Rice before taking on the Commodores.
National Expectations Highest Ever To Start Season
It started last summer when Baseball America tabbed Vanderbilt as one of the early favorites to reach the 2007 College World Series. The early buzz resulted in the Commodores being ranked the highest they have ever been to start the season.
With eight position starters returning along with a veteran pitching staff, Vanderbilt will find out quickly how the team stacks up against some of the premier programs in the country.
Price along with sophomore slugger Pedro Alvarez starred for Team USA last summer and along with head coach Tim Corbin helped guide the squad to a gold medal at the FISU World Championships last August.
Both players are preseason All-Americans and are on the Brooks Wallace Award Watch List, recognizing the top player in the country by the College Baseball Foundation.
The schedule is favorable after the season opening tournament, as the Commodores will play 18 of their next 20 games at home.
Commodores Picked To Finish Second in SEC East By Coaches
Southeastern Conference coaches predicted Vanderbilt to finish second in the Eastern Division in a vote done prior to the season.
Two of the 12 league coaches voted the Commodores as their pick to win the regular season championship. South Carolina received seven of the 12 championship votes in the poll and Arkansas received three votes.
The Gamecocks received 63 of a possible 66 points to win the Eastern Division, while the Commodores were second with 54 points.
Arkansas was the unanimous predicted winner in the Western Division with a total of 66 points. Ole Miss, last season's SEC Tournament champion, was second with 53, while Alabama finished third with 47.
Price Named To Roger Clemens Award Watch List
David Price was named to the preseason Roger Clemens Award Watch List, recognizing the top pitcher in college baseball.
Price was a three-time National Pitcher of the Week honoree in 2006 and finished the year with a 9-5 record and a school record 155 strikeouts in 110.1 innings. His 12.6 strikeouts per nine innings was third best nationally and No. 1 in the SEC. He was named BA's Summer Player of the Year after going 5-1 with a 0.20 ERA with 61 strikeouts and only seven walks in 44.0 innings for Team USA. He is widely considered to be among the top prospects in next June's amateur baseball draft.
The finalists for the 2007 Roger Clemens Award will be selected in voting by a national panel that includes: all Division I head baseball coaches, a selection of national media who cover collegiate baseball, the 16 winners of the R. E. "Bob" Smith Award, which was presented to the top player in the country in Houston in 1988-2003.
In addition, the 10 previous finalists for the Clemens Award are also issued ballots. The 2007 award will be presented at a gala dinner next July. The event is administered by the Greater Houston Baseball Association, which has donated more than $300,000 to the charities from the net proceeds from the first three dinners.
Vanderbilt is 2-2 in season openers under Tim Corbin and is 53-42-2 all-time in season openers according to school records ... After this weekend's tourney the Commodores will play 19 of 20 games in Nashville (18 at home, one vs. Belmont) and the other game is just an hour away against Western Kentucky ... All eight position starters returning hit over .300 last season ... Sophomores Nick Christiani and Brett Jacobson will be making their first weekend starts this weekend ... Also in the tournament this weekend are Texas A&M and Houston ... In it's College Baseball Preview, Baseball America broke down the SEC and rated Pedro Alvarez as the conference's best pure hitter with the best strike-zone discipline. He also was rated as the top defensive third-baseman in the league. David Price was their pick for SEC Pitcher of the Year.
Price and Alvarez Named Preseason All-Americans
Sophomore third baseman Pedro Alvarez and junior pitcher David Price continue to pick up preseason plaudits as both were named first-team preseason All-Americans by Baseball America and Rivals.com this week. Both players also picked up preseason All-American honors by Collegiate Baseball and the National Collegiate Baseball Writers Association.
Alvarez finished the 2006 season with a .329 batting average to go along with a school record 22 homers and 64 RBI. His homer total was third most nationally and second best in the Southeastern Conference. Alvarez had a torrid summer with the USA Baseball National Team that captured a gold medal at the World University Championships in Cuba. The New York City resident led the collegiate all-star squad with a .379 batting average to go along with five homers, 12 doubles and 43 RBI. Baseball America listed him as the No. 2 prospect off of the USA team that was coached by Vanderbilt head coach Tim Corbin.
Price is expected to be one of the top picks in this JuneÕs amateur draft.
Three Texans Returning To Home State
Juniors Ty Davis, David Macias and Shea Robin are making their first return back to their home state in a Commodore uniform this weekend. Davis is a product of Westlake High School in Austin, while both Macias and Robin prepped at The Woodlands in the Houston area. The duo will reunite with high school teammates and current Rice players, outfielder Jordan Dodson and catcher Danny Lehmann this weekend. The last time Vanderbilt was in Texas was in the 2004 Super Regionals against Texas.
Two Vanderbilt records worth watching this season is the school's career strikeout mark and the career homer mark. David Price's 247 strikeouts are good for fifth best in school annals and trails record holder Mike Willis by 103 strikeouts. Pedro Alvarez is currently outside of the Top 10 homer list but with another strong showing he would move into the top five entering his junior season.
Nearly every Vanderbilt home game will be available to watch for free online through All-Access. In addition, all 56 regular season games will be broadcast via the Internet through Yahoo. For more information on that you can visit www.vucommodores.com. This season, ISP has joined forces with baseball flagship WNSR 560 AM to broadcast 44 regular season contests. Eric Jones will handle the play-by-play to start the season before handing off to Voice of the Commodores Joe Fisher once the men's basketball season concludes.
Six Commodore games are slated for television this year. College Sports Southeast will broadcast four games, the April 21st game against Tennessee at 6 p.m., the April 29th game against Florida at 1 p.m. and the May 18th and 19th games against LSU at 7 p.m. and noon CT respectively. Fox Sports South will broadcast the South Carolina game on March 31 at 3 p.m. The Sun Network will show the Florida contest on April 28 at 3 p.m.