This weekend marks the start of Vanderbilt's 105th season of baseball. Preseason second-team All-American Jeremy Sowers takes the mound for Vanderbilt in its season opener on Friday. Sowers finished atop the SEC among freshmen pitchers with 85 strikeouts last season. Junior right-hander Robert Ransom and freshman left-hander Ryan Mullins are also scheduled to start this weekend, though their order is not yet determined.
Outfielder John Kaye is the lone senior on the Commodores' 27-man roster. He ranks first among Vanderbilt returnees with nine home runs in 2002. Catcher Jonathan Douillard and outfielder Worth Scott, both juniors, each have 64 career starts at their positions. Douillard battled injuries throughout the 2002 season while hitting .277 with seven doubles, a home run and 14 doubles. Scott struggled as a sophomore, hitting .186 with a home run and 16 RBI. Sophomore Tony Mansolino, who hit .280 with 15 doubles, three home runs and 20 RBI last season, will start at third base.
Key Commodore newcomers include transfer Ryan Klosterman, who redshirted last season at Clemson but will start Friday at shortstop. Cypress Community College transfer Ryan Godfrey should start at first base, while freshman Rucker Taylor gets the nod at second base. Freshman speedster Warner Jones will start in left field.
Southeastern Conference foes South Carolina and Tennessee will also participate in the shootout, but will not face Vanderbilt.
Vanderbilt's home opener vs. East Tennessee State is set for Tuesday, Feb. 18 at 3 pm.