On Wednesday Vandy will participate in its seventh tournament in Corbin's eight years in Nashville. Corbin would have been eight for eight had it not been for some very questionable officials calls during the 2005 Florida series at Hawkins which caused the 'Dores to barely miss the annual event.
Vandy sat at a miserable 18-20 in all-time SEC-T appearances before that first 2003 season. Since 2003 Vanderbilt has been red-hot in the tournament, winning 17 while only losing eight to boast an all-time winning record of 35-27 in Hoover.
Prior to Corbin's arrival, except for a championship 1979 season, Vanderbilt was a considered the laughing stock of the SEC tournament. However, with the construction Hawkins Field and hiring of Corbin, a new era has arrived for Vanderbilt baseball.
Although Vanderbilt still has not surpassed baseball juggernaut LSU in tournament victories (LSU has 59), the Commodores have moved to second place in all-time winning percentage (56%) of SEC tournament games won behind the Tigers (63%).
That initial 2003 appearance in the SEC-T was short as the Commodores dropped close games to Auburn and South Carolina to make a quick exit. However, since then the Commodores have made the most of every tournament appearance.
In 2004 Vandy served notice to its SEC brethren that a new day had arrived when they advanced all the way to the title game before falling to a tough USC squad, 3-2. After the lone absence in 2005, the Commodore were back in force in 2006 as they again advanced to the title match before falling to Ole Miss, 9-3.
The 2007 season was the best in Vanderbilt history. With players like David Price, Mike Minor and Pedro Alvarez, the Commodores breezed to the SEC regular season title. No one had won both the SEC regular season and tournament titles in years and skeptics doubted Vandy would. After a disappointing opening game loss to Tennessee those skeptics were looking like geniuses. However, the Commodores battled back to the SEC title game yet again by defeating Mississippi State, 3-2, and then bashing the rival Vols, 15-2. Two consecutive victories over a good Ole Miss club setup the championship game with Arkansas, which the Black and Gold won, 7-4.
2008 was a downer season for Commodore SEC tournament baseball as VU only made it to the tourney semifinals where they fell to Ole Miss, 9-8. In other years prior to Corbin's arrival there would have been celebration over advancing this far.
Last year our Commodores barely made it into the conference tournament with just 12 wins (the '05 team that didn't had 13). Few baseball experts gave Vandy a chance to make much noise in the tourney. However, the good guys surely did, making it yet again to the conference title game before falling to the eventual national champion LSU squad, 6-2.
What will be the 2010 Commodore's fortunes in the SEC tournament? Check out the VandyMania Vanderbilt baseball FORUM to post your thoughts on how far this team can advance.
The Corbin Years
2004 3-1 Championship game
2006 3-2 Championship game
2007 5-0 Champions
2008 3-2 Semi finals
2009 3-1 Championship game