SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. – The second-ranked Vanderbilt Commodores open the season with a College World Series rematch against No. 13 Michigan at 6 p.m. CT Friday from the MLB4 Collegiate Baseball Tournament at Salt River Fields. The contest can be seen live on MLB Network.
Vanderbilt took 2 of 3 at the inaugural event a season ago. This go-around, the Commodores will face UConn at 6 p.m. CT Saturday and Cal Poly at 3 p.m. CT Sunday. The contests will be streamed live on MLB.com. Fans can also listen locally on WNSR 560 AM/95.9 FM.
The Commodores are ranked no lower than second in all six major polls. Vanderbilt is the preseason favorite to repeat as national champions according to Baseball America, NCBWA and USA Today. The Dores begin the season at No. 2 per Collegiate Baseball, D1Baseball and Perfect Game.
PROBABLE PITCHING MATCHUPS (2019 STATISTICS)
– FRIDAY: RHP Mason Hickman (9-0, 2.05 ERA) vs. RHP Jeff Criswell (7-1, 2.72 ERA)
– SATURDAY: RHP Kumar Rocker (12-5, 3.25 ERA) vs. RHP Colby Dunlop (7-4, 4.31 ERA)
– SUNDAY: LHP Jake Eder (2-0, 2.97 ERA) vs. RHP Drew Thorpe (N/A)
The season starts now. ⚾️
— Vanderbilt Baseball (@VandyBoys) February 13, 2020
NEED TO KNOW
The last time two College World Series finals participants opened the following season against one another was 1991 when 1990 runner-up Oklahoma State visited defending national champion Georgia. The Bulldogs defeated the Cowboys 2-1 in the 1990 finals. Oklahoma State beat Georgia 3-2 in Athens, Georgia, to open the 1991 season.
Vanderbilt has won its opening weekend series in seven straight seasons (2013-present). The Commodores have captured six of their last seven opening-day matchups. Vanderbilt is 12-5 on opening day under head coach Tim Corbin. Friday marks the first time Vanderbilt has opened a season against a Big 10 opponent since 1931 when the Dores fell to Michigan, 3-2.
Vanderbilt is 3-0 all-time vs. UConn with the last matchup coming in 2005 — a 3-0 victory. Sunday’s contest against Cal Poly is the first in the history of the programs. The Commodores downed Big West opponent Cal State Fullerton, 14-9, a season ago at the MLB4 Tournament.
Commodore returning pitchers went 34-6 with a 3.13 ERA in 374.0 innings a season ago. The group accounted for 91% of saves, 62% of appearances, 61% of strikeouts, 58.5% of innings pitched and 47.9% of games started in 2019.
Vanderbilt opens an 11-game homestand at 4:30 p.m. Tuesday against South Alabama. Infield seats are available for $16 while outfield seats are priced at $7. Kids eighth grade and younger are admitted at no cost – these complimentary tickets must be claimed at the Hawkins Field box office on the day of game only, no earlier than 2 ½ hours prior to first pitch. The promotion will be limited, based on availability.