Baseball: Corbin era opens in Palmetto State

The Tim Corbin era begins Friday in Charleston, S.C., as Vanderbilt's baseball team opens its season vs. Old Dominion at 9 am CT in the three-day ESPN Radio 1340 Shootout. The Commodores also play The Citadel Saturday at 5 pm, and James Madison Sunday at 1:30 pm.

Vanderbilt's appearance in the shootout marks the return of Corbin to South Carolina. He coached the previous 15 years in the Palmetto State before taking the head coaching position at Vanderbilt in June, 2002. Corbin served as an assistant coach at Clemson from 1994-2002, helping guide the Tigers to four appearances at the College World Series and nine consecutive Top 25 finishes. Before his stay at Clemson, Corbin restarted the baseball program at Presbyterian College in Clinton, S.C. from 1988-1993. At Presbyterian, Corbin directed the school from NAIA to Division II status and posted a 106-138 overall record as head coach.

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.

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