vs. Kansas: The Jayhawks led 2-0 with both wins coming in the 2006 season (1 in LA, 1 in Nashville).
vs. Iowa: The teams have split the series 1-1, with VU coming away with 2-1 win in last meeting in 2002.
vs. Xavier: Vanderbilt leads 3-2 all-time with a three-game series sweep in 2007.
Vanderbilt is ranked in all the national polls, with a high ranking of No. 5 by Rivals.com. Baseball America ranks the Dores No. 7 as does the National Collegiate Baseball Writers Association. Collegiate Baseball has the team ranked No. 8, while the ESPN/Sports Weekly Coaches Poll has not changed from it preseason poll that has VU at No. 6. Kansas, Iowa and Xavier are not ranked this week. All of the National Polls can be found on page 6 of the release.
VU's Tim Corbin is 201-109 in his sixth season as head coach. Kansas' Ritch Price is 175-146-1 in his sixth season in Lawrence and 750-570-2 in 30 seasons as a head coach. Iowa's Jack Dahm is 103-122 in his fifth season in Iowa City and 386-398 in 15 seasons overall. Xavier's Scott Googins is 49-70 in his third season in Cincinnati.
The Kansas and Iowa games will be broadcast locally in Nashville on WNSR 560 AM. Sunday's game will be an internet only broadcast. Eric Jones is in his second season in calling the action prior to the end of the basketball season. This season you can listen to all 56 games of the regular season slate and all of the postseason action on the internet through Commodore Nation All-Access on vucommodores.com. This weekend's games are also going to be webcast on vucommodores.com (except Sunday vs. Xavier). Live stats via Gametracker can also be accessed through Vanderbilt Athletics official website.
What's On Tap
Vanderbilt hosts the seventh annual Music City Classic this weekend at Hawkins Field. This year the event takes on a new format with all six games to be played on the Vanderbilt campus. The Commodores will play against Kansas, Iowa and Xavier. The complete tournament schedule is below.
2008 Music City Classic Schedule (All Times Central)
Friday, February 29 Xavier vs Iowa - 3 p.m. (Live Stats) Kansas at Vanderbilt - 7 p.m.
Saturday, March 1 Kansas vs Xavier - Noon (Live Stats) Iowa at Vanderbilt - 4 p.m.
Sunday, March 2 Iowa vs Kansas - Noon (Live Stats) Xavier at Vanderbilt - 4 p.m.
Kansas is 2-4 on the year after losing a 2-1 contest to Arkansas on Wednesday night. The Jayhawks opened the season with five games against Hawaii-Hilo, going 2-3 in the Aloha State.
Junior outfielder Nick Faunce leads the team in hitting with a .462 average (6-for-13) in four starts. As a team, the KU is hitting .245 with two homers and 26 RBI.
Junior southpaw Nick Czyz (0-1, 11.57 ERA) will get the call against the Commodores. He gave up six runs on eight hits in 4.2 innings in his start against Hawaii-Hilo on Feb. 23. The Jayhawks sport a 3.54 team ERA with 31 strikeouts and 20 walks in 48.1 innings on the year.
Iowa is 1-2 overall after opening the year at Notre Dame's tournament in Clearwater, Fla. The Hawkeyes opened the season with an 8-3 win over Albany, before falling to the Irish 14-13 in 10 innings last Saturday. Iowa closed out the trip with a 3-1 loss to Liberty.
Senior Caleb Curry, a second-team All-Big Ten selection a year ago, went 9-for-13 (.692) at the tournament and leads the team with three doubles and five RBI. As a unit, the Hawkeyes are hitting .278 with nine doubles, a homer and 20 RBI.
Sophomore lefty Michael Jacobs (0-1, 3.00 ERA) will get the start against Vanderbilt. He gave up two runs on four hits in six innings of work in the loss to Liberty. Iowa has a 4.55 ERA through three games with 22 strikeouts and 13 walks in 27.2 innings.
Xavier is 1-2 after opening the year at South Alabama's Coca-Cola Classic in Mobile over the weekend. The Muskeeters opened with a 10-1 loss to Kentucky last Friday and then rebounded for a 12-7 win over Fairfield the next day. XU then lost a 6-5 decision to host South Alabama on Sunday.
Leftfielder Robbie Kelley leads the team with a .500 average with two doubles, a homer and two RBI. Xavier is batting .271 with four, two homers and 13 RBI as a team.
Sophomore southpaw Danny Rosenbaum (0-1, 4.50 ERA) will start against the Commodores. He gave up five runs, two earned, on three hits in four innings with two strikeouts and four walks against South Alabama. As a unit, Xavier has a 5.88 ERA as a team with 23 strikeouts, 20 walks in 26 innings.
Junior third baseman Pedro Alvarez will be sidelined indefinitely with a hand injury. The National Player of the Year candidate and two-time first-team All-American has a broken bone in his hand that will force him out of action for a minimum of six weeks.
Alvarez suffered the injury in his first at-bat against Oregon State in the season opener and was held out of the following two games against Arizona State and Miami (Ohio).
The New York City native is considered the top junior professional prospect by Baseball America and is on the initial Golden Spikes and Brooks Wallace Award Watch Lists. He has led the USA Baseball National Team in hitting over the last two summers.
Alvarez entered the year with a career .359 batting average to go with 40 homers, 36 doubles and 132 RBI. His 40 homers is sixth all-time in school history and nine away from tying Scotti Madison's mark of 49 set in four seasons from 1977-80.
White Leads Dores Past Evansville
Jonathan White's RBI single in the bottom of the ninth broke a 3-3 tie in Vanderbilt's 4-3 win over Evansville Wednesday afternoon at Hawkins Field.
David Macias doubled past the diving Nate Smith in centerfield with one out in the ninth and then scored on White's drive into the gap in right-center to win the game.
The Commodores took a 3-0 lead into the ninth, but the Aces rallied for three runs off of reliever Drew Hayes to tie the game.
Three Vanderbilt pitchers held the Purple Aces scoreless on nine hits for eight innings before running into trouble in the ninth. Starter Caleb Cotham allowed five hits while striking out three and walking two, while Taylor Hill followed with three innings of four-hit relief in his first collegiate outing. Sean Bierman followed his fellow freshman by striking out the side in his only inning of work in the eighth.
Hayes walked the first two batters he faced in the ninth, then gave up a RBI single to Brian Robinson to put Evansville on the board at 3-1. Andy Smith then reached safely on Hayes' fielding error of his sacrifice bunt to load the bases. Freshman reliever Russell Brewer came in and induced a RBI force at second and recorded a strikeout before giving up an infield single to Greg Wallace to tie the game.
Brewer (1-0) picked up his first collegiate win in his first appearance after redshirting a year ago. He allowed a hit with a strikeout in an inning of action.
Vanderbilt struck in the first inning when Dominic de la Osa and Ryan Flaherty walked with two outs. Andrew Giobbi then hit a fly ball to right that Ryan Fleming lost in the falling snow, allowing it to drop in for a two-run double.
VU added another run in the seventh on a RBI single by de la Osa to make it 3-0.
Giobbi led the Commodores with three hits on the day, while fellow Maine product Ryan Flaherty saw his 38-game hitting streak end with an 0-for-3 day at the plate.
Vanderbilt opened the 2008 campaign with a convincing 8-1 win over two-time defending champion Oregon State at the DeMarini Invitational in Tempe, Ariz. The Commodores fell to Arizona State, 18-6, on Saturday and rallied for three runs in the ninth in a 4-3 win over Miami (Ohio) on Sunday ... Sophomore lefthander Mike Minor held the Beavers to just one run on five hits in six innings of work on Friday. He struck out six and didn't walk a batter ... Redshirt freshman Caleb Cotham finished out the game against OSU and threw three scoreless inning to pick up the save. He struck out three with two walks ... True freshman Chase Reid threw four innings of scoreless relief against Miami (Ohio) on Sunday to pick up his first collegiate win. He struck out five and walked two and stabilized a game that the Commodores trailed 3-0 when he entered ... VU moved to 55-42-2 all-time in season openers and 4-2 in openers under Tim Corbin ... Junior outfielder Jonathan White went 4-for-11 (.364) with three runs scored to lead the team through the first three games ... Junior shortstop Ryan Flaherty was 4-for-12 with four RBI on the weekend ... Parker Hanks went 4-for-12 (.333) with a homer, double and RBI in the three games ... David Macias had three hits against Miami (Ohio) including the game-winning two-run single in the bottom of the ninth on Sunday ... True freshmen Curt Casali, Aaron Westlake and Joey Manning each saw their first action of the year offensively. True freshmen pitchers Kellen St. Luce and Sean Bierman joined Reid in seeing action this weekend along with redshirts Mark Lamm, Steven Liddle, Jordan Wormsley and Alex Hilliard.
Players Pick Up Preseason Recognition
The preseason honors roll in for Vanderbilt baseball as three players were named to Baseball America's and Rivals.com All-American teams.
Junior third baseman Pedro Alvarez headlined the group as he was named Preseason Player of the Year by Rivals.com. Joining Alvarez in the publication's first-team All-America list is senior outfielder Dominic de la Osa and junior shortstop Ryan Flaherty.
Baseball America had Alvarez on its first-team, de la Osa on the second-team and Flaherty on its third-team.
Alvarez led the Commodores with a .386 batting average to go along with 18 homers and 68 RBI en route to unanimous All-American honors a year ago. He led the USA Baseball National Team in hitting for the second straight summer and is listed by Baseball America as the No. 1 college prospect entering the 2008 season.
De la Osa led the Commodores with 20 homers in the 2007 season and also batted .378 with 20 stolen bases and 62 RBIs. He was one of only three players in the country to have 20 homers and 20 stolen bases and was also a unanimous All-American selection. The Florida native was drafted in the 10th round by the Detroit Tigers, but returned to Vanderbilt for his senior year after playing the Cape Cod League over the summer.
Flaherty finished the spring with a .381 batting average to go with four homers, 23 doubles (tied for team high) and 57 RBI. He carries a school record 35-game hitting streak into the 2008 campaign. The Maine native was a second-team All-American by the American Baseball Coaches Association and Rivals.com and started at second base for the USA Baseball National Team over the summer.garnered first-team plaudits.
The threesome were recently named to the Golden Spikes Award Watch List by USA Baseball.
Mike Minor joins the trio on the initial Brooks Wallace Award Watch List as well. Minor went 9-1 with a 3.09 ERA with 88 strikeouts and 19 walks in 90.1 innings en route to Freshman All-American honors. He was named the SEC Freshman of the Year by sebaseball.com and also played on Team USA, finishing with a team best five wins and 1.64 ERA.
Alvarez and de la Osa Approaching School Homer Record
With 18 homers in 2007, Pedro Alvarez moved into sixth place on the school's career list with 40 total jacks. Also in the Top 10 after a stellar junior campaign is Dominic de la Osa with 36.
Alvarez needs nine more round-trippers and de la Osa needs 13 to tie Scotty Madison's mark of 49 set from 1977-80.
De la Osa has a couple of other school records within reach as well in career at-bats and doubles. He has 692 at-bats, trailing Boomer Whipple's mark of 809 set from 1992-95. De la Osa also has 49 career doubles, just 12 off the school mark of 61 set by Sean Luellwitz from 1999-2002.
Commodores Picked To Finish First in SEC (East) By Coaches
Vanderbilt is predicted to repeat as the 2008 Southeastern Conference baseball champions, as voted by the league's 12 baseball coaches in the 17th annual preseason SEC poll.
The Commodores, ranked as high as No. 3 nationally in the preseason polls, seek to capture their fifth SEC Championship, having also won titles in 1973, 1974, 1980 and 2007. Vanderbilt returns eight position starters and four pitchers from their 2007 squad which also won the SEC Tournament and earned the National No. 1 Seed in the NCAA Tournament.
Since 1996, the SEC has named a regular season champion as well as a tournament champion. Prior to 1996, the tournament champion was considered the SEC Champion.