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The Vanderbilt Hustler

The official student newspaper of Vanderbilt University.
Since 1888
The official student newspaper of Vanderbilt University

The Vanderbilt Hustler

The official student newspaper of Vanderbilt University.
The official student newspaper of Vanderbilt University

The Vanderbilt Hustler

The official student newspaper of Vanderbilt University.

Press Conference Notes: Corbin talks importance of his seniors and Casey Stangel’s impact

Carter Young and Cooper Davis joined Corbin on Wednesday afternoon.
Vanderbilt baseball defeated Memphis 10-4 on March 9, 2021. (Hustler Multimedia/Truman McDaniel)

Vanderbilt baseball kicks off its SEC season this weekend in a home series against the South Carolina Gamecocks.

“I think we’ve got like three guys that have ever played an SEC game,” sophomore shortstop Carter Young said. “We’re all looking forward to it, and it’s very exciting.”

Only a handful of players on the team have competed against SEC opponents because last year’s baseball season was cancelled due to COVID-19 before conference competition began. The three seniors on the team plus juniors Kumar Rocker, Dominic Keegan and Isaiah Thomas made appearances in the 2018-19 SEC slate, but that’s just six players with any SEC experience on a roster that stretches over 40 players.

The senior leadership will be more important than ever for the Commodores in a tough conference.

“I love [seniors] because they’re here for three and four years,” Corbin said. “Cooper [Davis], Hugh [Fisher] and Gonzo [Jayson Gonzalez] last night, I loved it. Not just with [Gonzalez’s] home run, but just how he was interacting with the kids inside the dugout last night was next level for me as a coach.”

Cooper Davis is back in the lineup after suffering a broken nose in the first game of the season against Wright State. Davis fouled off a pitch, and he was hit in the nose on the contact.

“I was super lucky that there wasn’t any other damage besides the broken nose,” Davis said. “Any time you get hit in the face like that, there’s orbital bones and other issues like concussions.”

Davis returned to action March 5 against Illinois-Chicago and debuted a cage protecting his face on his batting helmet. Davis will wear the cage for two to three more weeks until his broken nose is healed.

Those next few weeks should look much different from the VandyBoys’ wild non conference schedule. The Commodores played seven games in seven days due to weather postponements, and they played another doubleheader on Saturday at Oklahoma State due to inclement weather the day before.

“The doubleheaders are kind of a mess with our schedules, and I think we’re looking forward to having everything pretty much planned out,” Young said.

The schedule changes and chaos of the first few weeks was perhaps felt even more with the departure of the team’s internal operations coordinator Casey Stangel.

Stangel, who used to coordinate much of the planning and schedule changes in the baseball program, is now across the street working for the football team as the director of football operations. 

Corbin reflected on Stangel’s impact on the program during the press conference.

“I just loved everything about Casey,” Corbin said. “She attacked days like you want someone that you work with to do. She had a high care level for everything that she did, and she was on fire the minute she came in.”

Corbin mentioned that Stangel introduced herself to him when she was a freshman softball player at Missouri. She met him in the dugout to introduce herself and said that she was going to work for him one day.

She did just that, and she spent three years working for Corbin and building the baseball program to its current state as a regular championship contender. 

“She met Clark because Clark was coming in to see me a couple years ago,” Corbin said. “I was going to be 15 minutes more on the phone, so I said, ‘Casey, do you mind taking Clark Lea around and showing the facilities to the defensive coordinator of Notre Dame?’ Well that was stupid because that was the impetus to why she has the job today. That’s what happened, but he hired a good one. She’s great, and she’ll do a great job for that program.”

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About the Contributor
Betsy Goodfriend
Betsy Goodfriend, Former Deputy Sports Editor
Betsy Goodfriend ('21) was the Deputy Sports Editor for The Vanderbilt Hustler. She majored in Human and Organizational Development with a minor in Business. In her free time, she enjoys online shopping, creating to-do lists and watching football even if she has no interest in either team playing. She can be reached at [email protected].    
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