Press Conference Notes: Corbin reflects on VandyBoys’ progress

Tim Corbin spoke to the media Wednesday morning about the growth of his young team and the upcoming SEC series.

Tim+Corbin+as+head+coach+of+Vanderbilt+baseball.+Corbin+graduated+from+Ohio+Wesleyan+in+1984

Hunter Long

Tim Corbin as head coach of Vanderbilt baseball. Corbin graduated from Ohio Wesleyan in 1984

Anita Mukherjee, Staff Writer

After a 12-5 win against Tennessee Tech this Tuesday, the Commodores packed their bags for an away series against LSU this weekend.

Entering this season, there were only a few players with experience playing an SEC game. Despite the apparent lack of experience, Vanderbilt’s last few victories have been characterized by an offensive surge and dominant pitching. 

“Pitchers set the tone for the game,” Corbin said. “When your pitching is crisp and it’s attacking, it keeps the game moving. And certainly, we are a team that really focuses on pace of play and likes to move from defense to offense as quickly as possible. So that that certainly helps. But it is a lot of fun to watch those guys compete.”

Corbin has had dominant pitchers in the past, but this year’s duo of Kumar Rocker and Jack Leiter might be the best he’s ever had.

“There’s a personality trait with Kumar that’s similar to David Price. He has fun, he’s very vocal when he’s not pitching,” Corbin said. “And Jack’s just very flatline. He’s got a good personality, but he’s more internal than anything. I’d say you know, not to compare the two, but Mikey Minor was that way.” 

The other half of Vanderbilt’s dominance has come at the plate. Freshman center fielder Enrique Bradfield Jr. drew praise from Corbin for his recent performances, including a stolen base in Tuesday’s game against Tennessee Tech.

“We like how he’s performed since he’s been a leadoff spot,” Corbin said. “He’s really found his way on base, and it never really slowed him down. It’s almost like it bumped his confidence even more so. He’s been a good little player for us thus far.”

Practicing against their own pitching, it was difficult for the Commodores to predict how their first few games would go. The beginning of this season has served as an opportunity for the Commodores to calibrate the strengths and weaknesses of the team and proceed accordingly. 

“From a power standpoint, we’ve been able to lift the ball out several times,” Corbin said. “We don’t want to concentrate on that too much because that can come and go particularly when you’re facing really good pitching.”

As for the Commodores’ play this weekend—and in every SEC series, for that matter—Corbin wants everyone to step up to the plate ready for a new challenge, irrespective of past performance. Early season success is promising and has positively contributed to team morale, but it is important to remember that the Commodores are still young and inexperienced in the realm of conference play. 

“We’re just a team that is trying to find its way,” Corbin said. “Every time we go out there, we get more bats for these kids who haven’t gotten these SEC at-bats. But this is going to be tough sledding moving forward. It always is.”

The Commodores will begin their three-game series against LSU in Baton Rouge at 6:30 PM CST on Thursday, April 1. Coverage will be provided by SEC Network+.