First Horizon Park To Host Tennessee, Samford In Fall Baseball Exhibition Game

The Nashville Sounds and First Horizon Park will be hosting the University of Tennessee Volunteers and the Samford Bulldogs in a fall exhibition game on Sunday, Nov. 5 at 1 p.m. CT.

“We’re thrilled to be able to bring college baseball back to Hit City one final time in 2023,” says General Manager and Chief Operating Officer Adam English. “It is an honor to bring UT baseball to Middle Tennessee while also hosting an up-and-coming mid-major program in Samford.”

Tickets are on sale now, with concourse level seating starting at $10 plus tax. Club Level seats are available for $20 plus tax. Club Suites and Field Suites are also available. Gates will open at 12 p.m. CT. Tennessee will serve as the home team and occupy the third base dugout.

The Volunteers are coming off a 44-22 season (16-14 SEC). Tennessee swept their way through the Clemson regional before beating Southern Miss in a best-of-three super regional series to make their sixth appearance in the NCAA College World Series, where they took home a fifth-place finish. The Volunteers are coached by Tony Vitello who’s entering his seventh season at the helm.

Last season, Samford won the Southern Conference’s regular season and conference tournament with a 37-25 (15-6 SoCon) record. They qualified for their fourth NCAA Tournament appearance, where they were knocked out in the Hattiesburg Regional by Southern Miss. Tony David is the Bulldogs’ head coach, entering his third season.

Vanderbilt Baseball Adds Two Members To Coaching Staff

Hawkins Field.

Vanderbilt Baseball has added Ro Coleman and Zach Monash to the program’s coaching staff.

Coleman returns to Hawkins Field as the Maggie Corbin Minority Baseball Apprentice. The Chicago native enjoyed an illustrious four-year career with the Commodores and was a member of the 2014 National Championship team.

The Maggie Corbin Minority Baseball Apprenticeship is a privately-funded apprenticeship for a minority candidate who desires to make coaching baseball a profession. Driven by the lack of collegiate coaching opportunities for minorities, the Corbins created the position in 2021 to provide a learning experience within one of the nation’s top collegiate baseball environments.

Coleman is the second recipient of the apprenticeship, following his high school teammate Jabari Brown. Brown recently joined the Missouri staff as an assistant coach after two seasons with Vanderbilt.

Coleman was drafted by the Detroit Tigers in the 2017 Major League Baseball Draft and spent one season in the Tigers’ minor league system. He then returned to Nashville and became the CEO of the Nashville Stars Youth Foundation, a nonprofit committed to empowering the community to become better people, leaders and athletes.

Monash joins the Vanderbilt staff as Video Coordinator. He comes to Music City after five seasons with the Detroit Tigers where he worked as the minor league’s Video Coordinator from 2022-2023 and a baseball information assistant from 2019-2021.

Originally from Tucson, Arizona, he earned his undergraduate degree at the University of Arizona while serving as a student manager for the baseball program from 2011-2013. After internships with both the Kansas City Royals and San Diego Padres, Monash volunteered with the Arizona Softball program in 2017 before becoming the Video Coordinator for the baseball program in 2018.

The Nashville Sounds Drop 2024 Schedule

The Nashville Sounds have announced their 2024 schedule, complete with home and away dates for the full 150-game season.

Nashville’s home opener is set for Tuesday, April 2 against the St. Paul Saints (Minnesota Twins) at First Horizon Park. For the first time since 2021, the Sounds will begin the season on the road with Opening Day on Friday, March 29 in a three-game series against the Toledo Mud Hens (Detroit Tigers).

“Though we still have 16 action-packed games remaining this season, we are elated to release the 2024 schedule” says Nashville Sounds General Manager & Chief Operating Officer Adam English. “We look forward to entertaining the best fans in baseball for First Horizon Park’s 10th season.”

The Sounds will host 11 homestands to make up the 75-game home schedule at First Horizon Park. The opening series against St. Paul will be the Twins’ Triple-A affiliate’s first trip to Nashville. Another opponent, the Indianapolis Indians (Pittsburgh Pirates), returns to First Horizon Park Aug. 6-11 after not visiting Nashville last season.

Two opponents will come First Horizon Park multiple times in 2024. The Charlotte Knights (Chicago White Sox) will visit May 21-26 and July 23-28 and the Memphis Redbirds come to play (St. Louis Cardinals) from July 4-6 and Sept. 10-15.

The 2024 schedule will bring 11 of the 19 different clubs in the International League to Nashville throughout the season, a more balanced schedule compared to previous years (10 in 2023, eight in 2022 and seven in 2021). This includes series with the Louisville Bats (Cincinnati Reds) June 4-9, Iowa Cubs (Chicago Cubs) July 9-14 and Gwinnett Stripers (Atlanta Braves) Sept.3-8.

The Sounds play at home on Independence Day (July 4) vs. Memphis, and hit the on the road for Easter (March 31), Mother’s Day (May 12) and Father’s Day (June 16). The team has Memorial Day (May 29) and Labor Day (Sept. 4) off.

Nashville closes out the home slate with the longest homestand of the season, a 12-game, 13-day stretch Sept. 3-15 when they play a pair of six-game series against Gwinnett and Memphis. The Sounds also have a 12-game, 13-day road trip set for May 7-19 with stops in Durham (Tampa Bay Rays) and Jacksonville (Miami Marlins).

The team will end the regular season how they start it, on the road, with a six-game trip to Norfolk (Baltimore Orioles) Sept. 17-22.

First Horizon Park hosts 38 weekend games in 2024, including 13 games on Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays. A full 2024 promotional schedule will be released in early March. Individual game tickets will be available for purchase in mid-March.

Nashville Sounds Announce 2024 Season Ticket Membership Specials

The Nashville Sounds have announced a variety of specials for fans interested in purchasing a 2024 season ticket membership.

They can choose between a full-season membership (75 games), half-season membership (38 games) or one of four different partial-season memberships (18 games). All 2024 season ticket membership information can be found at at the Nashville Sounds website.

Memberships start at $368 per seat and can save fans up to 30 percent off day-of-game ticket prices. In addition to monetary savings, early-bird benefits for those who place a $100 deposit include free parking, exclusive season ticket member events and entry into each of the following drawings:

  • Four All-Inclusive Tickets to a 2023 game of your choice – winner announced tomorrow (Aug. 18).
  • 2024 MiLB TV Subscription – winner announced on Friday, Aug. 25.
  • A Sounds Owner’s Experience for four during a remaining 2023 game ($600 value) – winner announced Friday, Sept. 1.
  • A Club Suite Night for an April 2024 game at First Horizon Park ($500 value includes eight (8) tickets) – winner announced Friday, September 8.
  • A Custom Sounds Jersey ($120 value) – winner announced Friday, Sept. 15.
  • A Sounds Team-Autographed Bat – winner announced Friday, Sept. 22.

All fans who place their deposit by the early-bird deadline on Friday, Sept. 22 at 11:59 p.m. CT will receive a special invitation to participate in the annual Swing for Your Seats event on Saturday, Sept. 23 from 9 a.m. to 12 p.m. A representative for each season ticket member account will receive five swings to win their 2024 season tickets for free by hitting a home run at First Horizon Park.

Members who choose to pay in full for their 2024 membership by the early-bird deadline are eligible to receive one ticket per seat on their plan to attend a 2024 Minor League Baseball road game with transportation via bus provided by the Sounds. The specific game will be determined by the team upon the release of their 2024 schedule, which will be announced at a later date.

Greg Walter Named OVC Associate Commissioner For Football, Basketball & Baseball

Greg Walter. Photo: Courtesy of the OVC

Greg Walter has been named the Ohio Valley Conference’s (OVC) Associate Commissioner for football, basketball and baseball, as announced by Commissioner Beth DeBauche.

In this role, Walter will serve as a member of the OVC’s Senior Leadership Team and will be the primary administrator for the sports of football, men’s and women’s basketball and baseball. His duties will include serving as the Tournament Director for the OVC Basketball and Baseball Championships, overseeing the officiating programs and developing playing schedules.

“I have followed Greg’s career for years and know he is a thoughtful, diligent and committed administrator who has made the organizations with which he has been affiliated better,” says DeBauche. “I have enjoyed working with Greg on matters and am delighted he has agreed to join our staff. Given his vast and varied experience and tremendous leadership skills, I know he will serve the OVC members well as we move the conference forward.”

Walter has served as an Associate Commissioner for the Missouri Valley Football Conference (MVFC) since 2012 and an Associate Commissioner with the Pioneer Football League (PFL) since 2013.

In his role with the PFL, he has overseen regulatory matters, developed league schedules and conducted a comprehensive study of the league’s financial aid policies.

In his tenure with the MVFC, Walter has been involved in all strategic initiatives and governance groups, overseen negotiation of the league’s next television agreement and developed a six-year scheduling and policy framework following recent membership changes.

From 2012 to 2021, he fulfilled the role of Associate Commissioner for the Missouri Valley Conference (MVC), where he was involved with all levels of governance and strategic decision-making. Walter co-led the development and implementation of the MVC’s 2015 strategic plan as well as benchmarking and goal-setting initiatives conducted by governance bodies and coaches’ groups across all sports.

He also served as Assistant Commissioner of the Summit League (2008-2011), Associate Director of Compliance for the Big Ten (2005-2007) and a compliance officer at the University of Utah (2004-2005).

Walter has served on the NCAA Division I Baseball Committee (2020-2021), the Division I Council (2017-2019), the Division I Legislative Committee (2017-2020), the Division I Interpretations Committee (2016-2020) and the Enforcement Interpretations Process Working Group (2019-2020).

Walter received a Bachelor’s degree from Northwestern University in 2000 and earned his Juris Doctorate from the University of Virginia School of Law in 2003.

MTSU Baseball’s Jaden Hamm & Eriq Swan Selected In 2023 MLB Draft

Pictured (top): Jaden Hamm; (bottom): Eriq Swan. Photos: Courtesy of MTSU Athletics

Middle Tennessee State University (MTSU) baseball standouts Jaden Hamm and Eriq Swan were just selected in the 2023 Major League Baseball (MLB) Draft.  Hamm, a junior in 2023, was selected by the Detroit Tigers in the fifth round as the No. 143 overall pick. Swan was selected by the Los Angeles Dodgers with the No. 137 overall pick.

Hamm was ranked as the No. 218 overall draft prospect coming into the weekend by MLB Pipeline. He spent three seasons with the Blue Raider program, and was a starter in each regular season series this past year.

“This is a dream come true, and I can’t thank everyone that helped me get here enough,” Hamm says.

In 2023, Hamm led the Blue Raiders in starts (14), innings pitched (79.2) and strikeouts (93). He was a Conference USA First Team member. The 6’1 righty had the program’s first complete-game, nine-inning, one-hit shutout since 1976 on March 10 against Evansville, striking out a career-high 11 batters. Hamm matched that strikeout total in win over UAB on May 13, and made three appearances out of the bullpen in the Conference USA Championships.

Swan, a junior in 2023, was a No. 240 overall prospect in the draft rankings coming into the weekend. The power thrower spent three seasons with the Blue Raiders, and was featured in the regular starting rotation as a sophomore and junior, with a fastball topping in the triple digits. He was drafted higher than any Blue Raider since Bryce Brentz, who went in the first round at No. 36 overall to the Boston Red Sox in 2010.

Standing at 6’6 and 240 pounds, Swan struck out 71 batters in 2023 across 16 total appearances, 12 of those being starts. He left the game with a no-hitter on May 13 against UAB, pitching 5.2 innings, and allowed just one run in C-USA Championships opening round in a win against UTSA, pitching six innings and earning a spot on the C-USA Championships All-Tournament team.

Hunter Owen & Four Other Vanderbilt Players Selected In MLB Draft

Hunter Owen. Photo: Courtesy of Vanderbilt Athletics

As the MLB Draft continues, five more Vandy Boys were selected in the second round on Monday, July 10.

Vanderbilt’s five draftees in Rounds 3-10 were most in the SEC. The day started with left-handed pitcher Hunter Owen going to the Kansas City Royals in the third round.

Owen tallied 12 starts on the mound for the Dores and led the staff with 76 strikeouts. Owen finished the season with a 4-0 record and a 3.52 ERA. He walked just 17 batters and held opposing hitters to a .219 average.

The southpaw turned in three quality starts on the season including a seven-inning outing at Alabama where he totaled nine strikeouts and gave up just one earned on two hits. He was named SEC Co-Pitcher of the Week on March 20 after tossing a 96-pitch, two-hit, complete-game shutout vs. No. 3 Ole Miss with a career-high 11 strikeouts. Owen retired the final 23 batters he faced in win.

Patrick Reilly, a right-handed pitcher, was next to be chosen as the Pittsburgh Pirates took him in the fifth round.

The junior from Sea Girt, New Jersey, has 187 strikeouts over 144 innings in three seasons for Vanderbilt, averaging 11.7 strikeouts per nine innings. Reilly increased his K/9 to 12.1 in 2023 with 65 strikeouts, third most on the team, over 48.1 innings pitched.

Reilly made 16 appearances in 2023, including four starts. He went 5-4 with a 5.77 ERA.

Right-handed pitcher Nick Maldonado was drafted by the Miami Marlins in the eighth round.

The senior from Short Hills, New Jersey, made 67 appearances for Vanderbilt over the past four seasons, totaling 17 saves, fifth most in program history. Maldonado’s 2.62 ERA ranks tied for fifth best by a Commodore.

Maldonado posted a career-best 1.45 ERA in 2023. He tallied eight saves with 40 strikeouts while only walking seven. Maldonado held opposing hitters to a .135 average and tossed the final inning of Vandy’s combined no-hitter at Minnesota on March 5.

The righty earned All-America honors as a senior from the National Collegiate Baseball Writers Association and was named All-SEC.

A pair of Commodores were selected in the ninth round to bring Vandy’s total to five for the day. Thomas Schultz was drafted by the Washington Nationals and RJ Schreck was picked by the Seattle Mariners.

Schultz posted a career 3.38 ERA over 62 appearances and 125.1 innings as a Commodore. Schultz recorded 10 career saves with eight of those coming as a junior in 2022. The righty closed out his 2023 campaign with 9.2 scoreless innings, including 4.0 shutout frames against Alabama in Vandy’s win at the SEC Tournament.

Schreck played one season at Vanderbilt after a four-year career at Duke. He hit .306 with a team-high 14 home runs and 59 RBIs, also most by a Dore. Schreck also led Vanderbilt in slugging (.588) and on-base percentage (.454).

Vanderbilt has six players chosen in this year’s draft so far. Enrique Bradfield Jr. was selected 17th overall by the Baltimore Orioles in the first round on Sunday night.

The 2023 MLB First-Year Player Draft draft wraps up Tuesday with Rounds 11-20.

Vanderbilt’s Enrique Bradfield Jr. Selected By Orioles In MLB Draft

Enrique Bradfield Jr. holding the SEC Tournament trophy. Photo: Courtesy of Vanderbilt Athletics

Vanderbilt baseball superstar Enrique Bradfield Jr. was selected 17th overall in the first round of the 2023 Major League Baseball (MLB) First-Year Player Draft by the Baltimore Orioles on Sunday night (July 9). 

Bradfield is Vanderbilt’s 22nd first-round selection in the Tim Corbin era (2003-present), which marks the most in the SEC. The Commodores have boasted a first-round pick in each of the last five MLB Drafts.

The electric center fielder has earned All-American honors all three seasons at Vanderbilt and won the Gold Glove Award twice, the first Commodore to do so. With 37 steals during his junior campaign bringing his career total to 130, Bradfield became Vandy’s all-time leader in the category. He was also one of Vanderbilt’s best fielders, finishing his college career with a fielding percentage of .985, while finishing the 2023 season with a perfect fielding percentage. 

Bradfield earned NCBWA All-American and ABCA All-Region honors in 2023, and was also named to the All-SEC Second Team and the All-Defensive Team. He totaled 69 runs scored to lead the Commodores and had the third-most hits on the team.

The Hialeah, Florida, native hit .311 over the past three seasons with 198 runs scored, third-most in Vandy history.