Vanderbilt opened fall practice this week on the newly renovated Hawkins Field turf.
The Commodores began practice on Tuesday afternoon before the pitcher's mound had even been completed but the mound and the synthetic turf are now complete as the Dores move into the weekend. Fundamentals of hitting, fielding and pitching have been stressed through the first three days of practice. On Wednesday, the team wrapped up the practice with a bunt scrimmage that focuses solely on bunting and bunt defense. Thursday's practice ended with a situational scrimmage with the squad working on hit and run, moving runners over and safety squeeze situations. The team's pitchers are expected to see their first live action this weekend.
Fresh Faces in New Places Vanderbilt's freshman class was tabbed the best in the nation this week by Collegiate Baseball, and the group has impressed coaches and teammates through the first few days of practice. A pair of new faces are playing on the left side of the infield with Dansby Swanson working at shortstop and Xavier Turner working at third base. Mt. Juliet's Kyle Smith has been practicing at first base. Tyler Campbell has been all over the place early in the fall, working at second base, shortstop and left field on Thursday. Rhett Wiseman, the lone outfielder in the class, has been roaming left and center field in the first days of the fall.
Big Summers Four Dores were recognized by Baseball America for their stellar play over the summer. Kevin Ziomek's monster season in the Cape Cod League netted him the fifth-best prospect in the prestigious league. Ziomek made just five starts on The Cape but dominated with a 1.27 ERA and 3-0 record. Conrad Gregor's summer in the same league earned him Summer All-American honors from Perfect Game. The Indiana native found some power over the summer, belting eight home runs Orleans and participating in the league's home run derby. Vince Conde was tabbed the No. 6 prospect in the New England Collegiate Baseball League after hitting .287 with eight home runs for the Laconia Muskrats. Freshman Rhett Wiseman was impressive in the Futures League earning the top prospect spot for the circuit. The speedy Wiseman stole 13 bases and was praised by league coaches for his mature offensive approach.
For the Weekend Vanderbilt continues fall practice over the weekend with scrimmages scheduled for Saturday and Sunday mornings.