Dores open up 2017 season in San Diego

Feb. 16, 2017

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Vanderbilt opens the 2017 season under the direction of Tim Corbin for the 15th time. The Commodores went 43-19 last season and boast the most wins (466) of any program in the country over the last 10 years. VU went 18-12 in the Southeastern Conference and finished third in the SEC East before hosting NCAA Regionals for the fifth time in six years. Jeren Kendall led the squad with a .332 average, 63 runs scored, 59 RBIs and 16 doubles en route to All-American honors. His eight triples matched the school record and his 28 stolen bases were the most by a Commodore since 2013. Ethan Paul, Alonzo Jones and Patrick Raby all earned Freshman All-American status. Paul hit .305 with four home runs and 14 doubles. Jones hit .285 with 15 doubles and 35 RBIs. Raby's seven wins were the second-most on the team after appearing in 15 games, 10 starts, and posting a 2.61 ERA. Connor Kaiser picked up Freshman All-SEC accolades, hitting .271 with 12 RBIs and 10 runs in 22 league games. The Commodores also added a top 20 recruiting class to the roster with 14 newcomers.

Thursday, Feb. 16
RHP Kyle Wright vs. LHP Nick Sprengel

Friday, Feb. 17
RHP Patrick Raby vs. TBA

Saturday, Feb. 18

Vanderbilt's season opener at San Diego has been moved up to Thursday at 6 p.m. at Fowler Park due to the weather forecast. As of now Thursday's game replaces Friday's scheduled opener. The rest of the weekend series dates and times are yet to be determined and dependent on the weekend's weather. Thursday night's game will be broadcast on WNSR immediately following the women's basketball game at South Carolina. Fans can also watch Thursday night's game by clicking here. Follow @VandyBaseball on twitter throughout the weekend for up to date information.

Juniors Jeren Kendall and Kyle Wright open 2017 on every preseason All-American team. The duo earned the status from, Baseball America, Collegiate Baseball, Perfect Game and National Collegiate Baseball Writers Association. Kendall finished his sophomore season as a third team All-American, leading the Commodores in numerous offensive categories before posting a big summer with USA Baseball's Collegiate National Team. Wright was dominant in league play last season, posting a 1.76 ERA in his 10 SEC starts to earn All-SEC status. He also starred for Team USA over the summer.

Vanderbilt opens the season on the road on the west coast for the first time since 2014 when the team began its march to the program's first national championship with a sweep at Long Beach State. The Commodores return to the scene of the beginning of the 2011 season in San Diego. Vandy made its first-ever appearance in the College World Series that season, starting the year 4-0 with three wins over San Diego and one over San Diego State. The trip west marks the 12th straight season the Vandy Boys have traveled west during the team's non-conference slate, beginning with a trip to Los Angeles to open the season against San Diego in 2006.

Jeren Kendall and Kyle Wright have been placed on the Golden Spikes Award watch list. Kendall and Wright are two of 55 players to appear on the initial list. Wright is one of eight players to earn recognition from the award in the past having been named to the preseason watch list last season. The SEC and ACC lead the way on the list with 13 representatives each. Vanderbilt is one of 12 schools with multiple student-athletes on the list. David Price is the only Commodore to win the Golden Spikes Award, claiming the trophy after his amazing 2007 season. The Dores have twice had multiple finalists in 2007 with Price and Pedro Alvarez and in 2015 with Carson Fulmer and Dansby Swanson. Tyler Beede was a finalist in 2013.

Juniors Kyle Wright and Jeren Kendall continue to earn preseason recognition as the duo has been included in Baseball America's Top 100 college prospects. Baseball America annually ranks the top 100 college prospects and includes both Vanderbilt juniors inside the top five. Kendall was named the No. 2 prospect in all of college baseball and was followed closely by Wright, who checked in at No. 5. The Commodores are the only team to have multiple representatives inside the top 10 and lead a strong Southeastern Conference contingent that includes Florida's Alex Faedo at No. 1, LSU's Alex Lange at No. 7 and Missouri's Tanner Houck at No. 8. Fellow junior Will Toffey gives the Vandy Boys three representatives on the list, checking in at No. 80.

Four Commodores landed on the preseason All-SEC list with Jeren Kendall and Kyle Wright earning first team status and Jason Delay and Matt Ruppenthal on the second team. Kendall and Wright enter their junior seasons as two of the highest-rated players in the nation. Delay returns for his senior season after turning down the San Francisco Giants as an 11th round pick last summer. Ruppenthal appeared in a team-high 25 games last season, going 5-1 with a 2.33 ERA.

Vanderbilt's 2015-16 freshman class was the top-ranked class in the nation last year by Baseball America. The No. 1 class was the fourth for VU (2005, 2011, 2012, 2015) to further grow the program's national lead. The class produced three Freshman All-Americans with Alonzo Jones, Ethan Paul and Patrick Raby all earning the honor. Connor Kaiser was the Opening Day shortstop and blossomed late in the year to hit .271 in 22 league games and earn Freshman All-SEC honors. Despite missing the first two months of the season with a broken wrist, Julian Infante led the class with six home runs in just 26 games. Maddux Conger and Matt McGarry emerged late in the season and combined for 24 strikeouts over 21.1 innings. Chandler Day's three starts last year trail only Raby and Kyle Wright on the current pitching staff. Of the 13-man class, all six position players drew at least one start with four of the seven pitchers earning a start.

The Commodores return nearly 70 percent of the team's hits and runs from 2016's team. Jeren Kendall led the squad last year with 83 hits and 63 runs and is back for his junior campaign. He also led the Dores in doubles (16), RBI (59) and stolen bases (28) while matching the school record with eight triples. The offense returns seven of the team's top nine hitters from last year with only Bryan Reynolds and Tyler Campbell departing. The roster also features 10 different Commodores who posted at least 20 hits last season.

Vanderbilt has been picked to finish third in the Southeastern Conference's East division by the league's coaches. Florida was picked to win the East with LSU selected as the West champion. The two teams each picked up six votes from the coaches to win the league overall title with South Carolina receiving two. Vandy checks in behind the Gators and Gamecocks in the East with Georgia and Kentucky tying for fourth, Tennessee sixth and Missouri seventh. In the West, Texas A&M, Ole Miss, Mississippi State, Arkansas, Alabama and Auburn are behind the Tigers.

Entering his 15th season head coach Tim Corbin has had only six full-time assistant coaches on his staff with D.J. Svihlik becoming the sixth this past summer, taking over as the Commodores' hitting coach/recruiting coordinator for Travis Jewett, who left to become the head coach at Tulane. Svihlik is one of four new faces on Corbin's staff alongside Aaron Gershenfeld (volunteer coach), Brooks Webb (Director of Operations) and Alex Levitt (Director of Player Operations). Svihlik joins the Dores after spending the last 16 years in the New York Yankees' organization, the last six as one of the team's national cross checkers. Gershenfeld played at Louisville and has coaching stops at The Citadel and East Tennessee State already in his young career. Webb joins VU from USA Baseball and Levitt returns to Vanderbilt as a two-time graduate of the university after recently working as an area scout for the Chicago Cubs.

Vanderbilt begins its seventh straight season ranked inside the preseason top 10 in at least one poll. This season the Commodores are inside the top 10 in five of the six major polls, ranked as high as No. 6 by the coaches' poll, Collegiate Baseball and NCBWA. has VU at No. 7 and Perfect Game has the Dores at No. 9. Baseball America has Vanderbilt at No. 11 in its preseason poll.

The Vanderbilt roster features three players from Lebanon... but from three different states. Left-hander AJ Franklin is from Lebanon, Tenn. Freshman right-hander Reid Schaller is from Lebanon, Ind. and fellow freshman Ty Duvall is from Lebanon, Ohio. Franklin and Schaller are both out for the season with Franklin suffering a knee injury in preseason practice and Schaller recovering from elbow surgery. Duvall, a catcher, is also recovering from elbow surgery but is slated to play in his first season at Vandy.

The Last Meeting
San Diego1
February 21, 2016
Nashville, Tenn.
Commodores finish sweep of San Diego with blowout
No. 3 Vanderbilt finished off the team’s opening weekend sweep of San Diego in blowout fashion on Sunday afternoon at Hawkins Field with a 17-1 win.



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