Vanderbilt Duo Named To USA Baseball Collegiate National Team Roster

Top: Enrique Bradfield Jr. Bottom: Carter Holton. Photos: Courtesy of Vanderbilt Athletics

Vanderbilt baseball’s Enrique Bradfield Jr. and Carter Holton have been named to the final 26-man roster for the USA Baseball Collegiate National Team, USA Baseball.

The final squad was named after the completion of the 2022 Collegiate National Team Training Camp—a five-game intrasquad series played across the state of North Carolina. 17 schools have players on the 2022 Collegiate National Team roster, but Vanderbilt is one of five programs to boast multiple student-athletes on the team. The others are Florida State, LSU, Ole Miss and Wake Forest.

Bradfield ended the year with a batting average of .317 in 243 at-bats. He had an on-base percentage of .415 and was perfect this season in stolen bases with 46 steals on 46 attempts. Holton finished the season leading the team in ERA of 3.14 in 15 starts, the best on the team. He pitched 80 innings and struck out 97 batters. His opposing batting average was also the best on the team with .197.

Including the selections of Bradfield and Holton, Vanderbilt has had 27 players on USA Baseball Collegiate National Teams—the second-most among SEC programs. Most recently, Austin Martin and Tyler Brown played on the Collegiate National Team in the summer of 2019.

Team USA will travel to the Netherlands on Wednesday and begin Honkbalweek Haarlem on Saturday. They open against Japan at 7 a.m. CT and then have games against Italy, Cuba, the Netherlands and Curacao to complete group play. All games will be streamed at HonkbalSoftbal.tv.

Tennessee Drops Game 3 To Notre Dame, Falls Short Of College World Series

Photo: Courtesy of Tennessee Athletics/Andrew Ferguson

After being the best team in college baseball all season, No. 1 Tennessee fell to Notre Dame 7-3 in Game 3 of the Knoxville Super Regionals, ending its historic season.

The Fighting Irish scored three runs in both the seventh and eighth innings to turn a 3-1 Volunteer lead into a 7-3 Notre Dame lead. The Vols weren’t able to recover in the eighth and ninth innings.

“Overall, I thought our guys had good vibes all weekend long for a majority of the time. And we played a really good opponent,” said head coach Tony Vitello in a postgame press conference. “You kind of knew that today was going to come down to the ninth.”

Tennessee started off very well, taking a 2-1 lead into the third inning. Luc Lipcius kicked things off with a solo home run in the first and Seth Stephenson drove in a run in the second inning.

Starting pitcher Chase Burns was near perfect through the first six innings before running into trouble in the seventh. The true freshman allowed just one run on two hits entering the seventh and was one out away from escaping before giving up back-to-back homers to David LaManna and Jack Brannigan.

Freshman left-hander Jack Findlay was the star for Notre Dame, throwing five shutout innings in relief to pick up the win. Findlay gave up just one hit and allowed two walks while striking out four batters.

Notre Dame is headed to Omaha and will face Texas in the first round of the College Baseball World Series.

Vanderbilt’s Season Comes To An End After Losing To Oregon State 7-6 In Regionals

Photo: Courtesy of Vanderbilt Athletics

Vanderbilt baseball’s season has come to a close after dropping the winner-take-all game 7-6 to No. 3 Oregon State in the Corvallis Regionals.

Vandy kicked off regionals with a 3-2 loss to San Diego but went on to win its next three games against New Mexico State, San Diego again and Oregon State.

Monday’s elimination game started off with Sophomore pitcher Christian Little taking the mound and giving up a leadoff home run to Justin Boyd, giving the Beavers an early 1-0 lead. Little went on to pitch three innings, giving up one run on 70 pitches.

In the fourth inning, the Dores got on the board off a Spencer Jones two-run home run. Vandy reliever Patrick Reilly came in and gave up a one-out double in the fourth, then a two-out single to Kyle Dernedde allowing Oregon State to tie the game at 2-2.

In the fifth inning with two outs, Enrique Bradfield Jr. made a jump for third and, on an errant throw to second to try to get Javier Vaz out, Bradfield came in to score, giving the Commodores a 3-2 lead.

Jacob Melton responded for the Beavers by launching a one-out, two-run homer in the bottom half to make it a 4-3 game. Kyle Dernedde’s two-run single with the bases loaded later in the inning made it 6-3. Vanderbilt was never able to retake the lead, even after scoring three runs, two of which were unearned. 

In the bottom of the seventh with the game tied at 6-6, Matthew Gretler hit a solo home run to call game for the Beavers.

Jones was named Corvallis Regional Most Outstanding Player, even with Vanderbilt failing to advance. Vaz, Devin Futrell, Tate Kolwyck, and Parker Noland were also named to the All-Tournament Team.

The Commodores finished their lackluster season with a record of 39-23.

Volunteers Come Back To Beat Georgia Tech, Advance To Super Regionals

Jorel Ortega. Photo: by Andrew Ferguson/Tennessee Athletics

Tennessee baseball scored six runs in the ninth inning on Sunday night (June 5) to pull-off a 9-6 comeback win against Georgia Tech and punch their ticket to their second-straight NCAA Super Regional.

The Volunteers swept the Knoxville Regional with wins against Alabama State, Campbell and Tech.

“I think the regional was what it was supposed to be,” said Tennessee head coach Tony Vitello. “It was a bunch of teams that have really good offenses.”

For the second straight game, UT had to erase a four-run deficit after falling behind in the early going. The Yellow Jackets (36-24) struck first with a pair of unearned runs in the bottom of the third inning due a two-out throwing.

Junior lefty Will Mabrey was able to keep the Vols in the game with 3.2 brilliant, shutout innings of relief, striking out five batters while scattering five hits.

Five Vols drove in runs in an eventful ninth inning as the first eight batters of the inning reached base. Jordan Beck tied the game with an RBI double before Trey LipscombChristian MooreEvan Russell and Cortland Lawson all followed with at-bats the produced runs to give the Big Orange a 9-4 lead heading into the bottom of the ninth.

Tennessee had four players make the NCAA Knoxville All-Regional Team, led by Jorel Ortega, who was also named the regional’s Most Outstanding Player after leading the team in batting average (.500) and total bases (14), while scoring four runs and totaling five RBIs. Lipscomb, Drew Gilbert, and Blade Tidwell were also named to the Knoxville All-Regional Team.

Next up, the Vols will play Notre Dame in a best of three series starting on Friday (June 10) in Knoxville. If Tennessee can win the series, they will be headed to Omaha for the College World Series.

College Corner: Tennessee & Vanderbilt Baseball, Belmont Women’s Basketball

Tennessee Baseball Earns No. 1 Overall Seed For First Time Ever

Tennessee Baseball celebrating their SEC Tournament Championship. Photo: Courtesy of Tennessee Athletics

After winning the SEC Tournament Championship for the first time in 27 years, the Tennessee baseball team has now earned its highest ever seed for the NCAA Tournament, claiming the No. 1 overall spot.

The Volunteers will host Georgia Tech, Campbell and Alabama State in the Knoxville Regional at Lindsey Nelson Stadium this weekend. It’s the seventh time in program history that the Vols will be hosting a NCAA Regional and their second straight after winning the Knoxville Regional.

Should the top-ranked Volunteers win the NCAA Knoxville Regional, they would also play host for a Super Regional the following weekend. The Vols will be making their 12th overall appearance in the NCAA Tournament.

UTK enters the tournament with an NCAA-best record of 53-7 and won both the SEC Regular Season and Tournament championships for the first time since 1995.

Tennessee made the College Baseball World Series in 2021, but lost in double elimination to Virginia and Texas in Omaha.

 

 

Vanderbilt Heading To NCAA Tournament For 16th-Consecutive Season

Enrique Bradfield Jr. Photo: Courtesy of Vanderbilt Athletics

For the 16th-consecutive season, Vanderbilt is headed to the NCAA Tournament and will be the No. 2 seed at the Corvallis Regional.

The Commodores are joined by host Oregon State, No. 3 seed San Diego and No. 4 seed New Mexico State. Vandy open the double-elimination regional on Friday at 3 p.m. CT against San Diego.

This season, Vanderbilt racked up eight wins against D1 Baseball Top 25 opponents, while sitting at No. 7 in the NCAA RPI. Vandy boasted the nation’s toughest schedule.

The Commodores are one of nine Southeastern Conference teams selected among the field. Vanderbilt is joined by Arkansas, Auburn, Florida, Georgia, LSU, Ole Miss, Tennessee and Texas A&M.

 

 

Sally McCabe Returns To Belmont As Director Of Basketball Operations

Sally McCabe. Photo: Courtesy of Belmont Athletics

The Bruins’ all-time blocks leader and two-time Ohio Valley Conference Defensive Player of the Year, Sally McCabe, is headed back to Belmont as Women’s Basketball’s Director of Operations, announced head coach Bart Brooks.

In her new role, McCabe will be responsible for the team’s logistical operations and travel while overseeing daily administrative duties.

“I can’t be more excited to welcome Sally back to Belmont to work with our coaching staff and players,” says Brooks. “She was one of the best players to ever put on a Belmont uniform and I was blessed to coach her in her final season. I can’t say enough good things about Sally, the quality of her character and how impactful she will be as a mentor to our student-athletes. Sally is a great representative of our program and I’m thrilled to welcome her back home.”

Upon finishing her highly-decorated athletic and academic career at Belmont in 2018, McCabe attended nearby Vanderbilt where she received a Master of Education degree in early childhood special education in May of 2020. For the last two years, she has worked in early education as a teacher at Nations Ford Elementary in Charlotte, North Carolina, and most recently Granbery Elementary in Brentwood.

During the 2021-22 basketball season, McCabe served as an assistant girl’s basketball coach at Brentwood Academy.

Vanderbilt Takes On Ole Miss In SEC Tournament After Being Swept By LSU

Photo: Courtesy of Vanderbilt Athletics

After a shaky season, Vanderbilt baseball finds itself as the No. 8 seed in the SEC Baseball Tournament. They will play a single elimination game against Ole Miss tonight (May 24) in Hoover, Alabama at 4:30 p.m. CT.

The Commodores had a chance to get a higher seed this past weekend when LSU visited Hawkins Field, but the Tigers’ explosive offense completely shut down Vandy with no hope to get a single win in the three-game series. LSU and Vandy were tied for seventh place at the time and now the Tigers find themselves with the No. 4 seed and an extra day off. The Dores’ were outscored by LSU 42-15.

“Once we start to get on the bus and go down to Hoover, I feel like that’s always been medicine for us–good medicine for us in so many different ways. That’s not to say we’ve always played well in Hoover, but we’ve played well in Hoover ever since I’ve been here,” said Vanderbilt head coach Tim Corbin in a Monday press conference. “There’s been years where we came home after one [game], but the reality is if you look at the resume of work and the body of work… it’s been consistent. I’m not going to tell you we’ve been on the high side, and I’m not going to tell you we’ve been on the low side. They are re losses or wins, and you just move forward.”

Vanderbilt has suffered some major injuries this season and has lacked the star pitching it had in previous years with All-Americans like Kumar Rocker and Jack Leiter. However, the SEC Tournament is a fresh start where Corbin’s team can change the conversation.

Starting for Vandy against Ole Miss is freshman Carter Holton who’s been the team’s top pitcher all season long. Holton has started in 13 games this year and has thrown a 3.42 ERA, pitching 68.1 innings and striking out 86 batters. Holton, along with teammate Devin Futrell, were named to the Freshman All-SEC Team.

Enrique Bradfield Jr. Photo: Courtesy of Vanderbilt Athletics

The Commodores also have the dynamic duo of Dominic Keegan and Enrique Bradfield Jr., who were each named to the All-SEC First Team. Keegan concluded the regular season with a .366 batting average, ranking fifth in the league, while tying for fourth in the conference RBI with 57.

Bradfield has been a stolen base wizard this season, leading the SEC and going a perfect 42-for-42 on attempts, while placing fourth in runs scored with 60. He also batted .322 this season with 68 hits.

Top MLB Prospect for Vanderbilt Spencer Jones leads the team in batting average with .379, 75 hits and 48 RBI’s. He was recently named to the All-SEC Second Team.

This Vanderbilt team is still extremely talented and one of the best teams in the country, being in DI Baseball’s Top 25 just a week ago. The Commodores have bounced back many times this season, especially after being swept by No. 1 Tennessee at Hawkins Field in March. Vandy also has a decent track record against Ole Miss in the SEC Tournament, having played 12 times twice in 2021 and are 6-6 in those meetings.

Regardless of their performance, Vanderbilt is predicted to be a No. 2 seed in most NCAA Baseball Tournament brackets, but a win or two in the SEC Tournament will only build their confidence and put themselves in a better position to play in a Super Regional.

Belmont Wins OVC Baseball Regular Season Championship

Belmont baseball celebrating OVC Regular Season Championship. Photo: Courtesy of Belmont Athletics

Belmont baseball clinched the 2022 OVC Regular Season Championship for the first time ever after taking a doubleheader against Southern Illinois University-Edwardsville on Friday, May 20.

“We talked about it all year long from the first day of classes in August, about this being a 10,000 step process,” said Belmont head coach Dave Jarvis postgame. “We’re still in the mist of this process as we stand here tonight, but they understood that and understand you can’t get to the ultimate goals we have in this season and within this program without taking those steps all along the way.”

The Bruins just edged Southeast Missouri for the title as they fell two wins short of tying the Bruins for the championship. Belmont led the OVC in pitching with an overall team ERA of 4.54 and allowing only 267 runs.

Sophomore Jalen Borders was second in the league in ERA with 3.21. Though Belmont didn’t lead the conference in batting, sophomore Guy Lipscomb led the league batting .400 and was third in hits with 82. He hit two home runs in the Bruins second win over SIUE in Friday’s doubleheader.

One aspect that helped the Bruins to its first championship was the fact that it was led by 14 juniors, seniors and grad students. Players with four to five years of experience have been the foundation for Belmont and its success.

“This group of upperclassman on this team this year have done what I charged them with and I charged them with driving the bus,” Jarvis added. “They’ve done it in a way that makes anyone associated with Belmont University proud… I think it’s just been an amazing season thus far.”

The last time Jarvis and the Bruins won a regular season title was in 2012 when the program was in the Atlantic Sun Conference. That season they won both the regular season and tournament titles. Jarvis has been with Belmont since 1998 and earned his 1,000 career win earlier this season. He later earned his 700th Belmont win in April.

The Bruins will get a bye through the first day of play and will open on Thursday against either Eastern Illinois, SIUE, or Austin Peay.

John Ingram, Ja Morant, And More Announced As Tennessee Sports Hall Of Fame Class Of 2022 Honorees

Nashville SC owner John Ingram and Memphis Grizzlies star Ja Morant. Photos: Courtesy of Nashville SC and the Memphis Grizzlies.

The Tennessee Sports Hall of Fame has announced the honorees for its 2022 Achievement Awards, with Nashville SC principal owner John Ingram and Memphis Grizzlies point guard Ja Morant topping the list as the Tennessee Sports Hall of Fame 2022 Tennessean of the Year.

Other top honors include a celebration of the 50 anniversary of Title IX, Memphis Grizzlies, Middle Tennessee State Head Track & Field Coach Dean HayesCandace Parker (Chicago Sky), Jack Leiter (Vanderbilt Baseball), Rachel Heck (Stanford Golf), East Tennessee State Football, and Tennessee Southern Women’s Soccer.

These honorees will be recognized for their achievements this past year alongside the Tennessee Sports Hall of Fame Class of 2022 inductees Sharrieffa Barksdale, RA Dickey, the late Harry Galbreath, Artis Hicks, Jevon Kearse, Randy Lambert, David Legwand, Nikki McCray-Penson, David Suddeth, Tony White, the late David Williams II and Toby Wilt.

Ingram has led Nashville SC from its USL origins to be one of the most successful MLS teams these past two seasons. In May, Nashville SC opened GEODIS park, the largest soccer-specific stadium in the U.S. and Canada, in front of a sold out crowd of over 30,000 fans.

Morant has been one of the best players the NBA for the 2021-22 season, leading the Memphis Grizzlies to the second round of the NBA Playoffs and has been named as Male Professional Athlete of the Year. After sustaining an injury last season, he was awarded the NBA Comeback Player of the Year averaging 27.4 points per game, 5.7 rebounds per game and 6.7 assists per game. The Grizzlies have been named Professional Team of the Year after having one of their best seasons in almost a decade finishing second in the Western Conference winning 56 games.

Candace Parker has been named Female Professional Athlete of the Year. Parker, a former Tennessee Lady Vol, joined the Chicago Sky in 2021. The regular season ended with Parker and the Sky earning the No. 6 seed in the playoffs. They won two single-elimination games, followed by an upset of Connecticut in the semifinals, before beating the Phoenix Mercury to win the 2021 WNBA Finals. Parker averaged 16.6 points and 8.6 rebounds per game on the way to her second World Championship.

Vanderbilt’s Leiter was one of five consensus first-team All-Americans nationally. He named a first-team All-American by the American Baseball Coaches Association (ABCA), Baseball America, Collegiate Baseball and National Collegiate Baseball Writers Association (NCBWA). He was also the SEC Newcomer of the Year. He was selected by the Texas Rangers with the second overall pick of the 2021 MLB Draft. He has been named the Male Amateur Athlete of the Year.

Female Amateur Athlete of the Year is being awarded to Stanford golfer Rachel Heck. She is a native of Memphis, and a graduate of St. Agnes Academy in Memphis. She is a five-time AJGA All American, two-time USA Today High School Golfer of the Year, a four-time individual state champion, and winner of many events through the course of her prep career. Now, as a sophomore at Stanford, she is already tied for third most victories in school history.

Other honorees include Title IX 50th Anniversary for the David Williams Significant Historical Achievement Award, MTSU Track & Field coach Dean Hayes for the Pat Summitt Lifetime Achievement Award, the Tennessee Southern Women’s Soccer for the Female Amateur Team of the Year, and the ETSU football team for the Male Amateur Team of the Year.

The honors will be formally presented as part of the hall’s 2022 Banquet, presented by the Tennessee Titans on July 23 at the Omni Nashville Downtown. Tickets for the banquet ceremony can be purchased through the Tennessee Sports Hall of Fame website.