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Vanderbilt baseball class ranked first in the nation

Oct. 12, 2005, 5:00 PM

Baseball America ranked Vanderbilt’s 2005 recruiting class as the best in the country, the publication released today.

The Commodores had all 17 players they signed on campus at the start of the fall semester, a rarity in college baseball. The ranking is the highest ever for a Vanderbilt baseball class.

“As a staff we worked very hard and I have to give Erik (Bakich, assistant coach) a lot of credit. When you recruit a class it goes through three different phases. You recruit in the summer to find them, you recruit in the fall to sign them and you recruit in the spring to keep them. Erik did as good a job of cultivating that class as anyone that I have ever seen.”

Five players in the class were drafted and chose to go to attend Vanderbilt. The Commodores signed seven players that were ranked among the top 200 high school prospects in the country by Baseball America prior to last June’s amateur draft.

The class includes five high school state players of the years as well as three transfers from other schools. VU also signed four high schoolers from the Nashville area.

“In order to get a class like this, you have to build on something and I think we used the NCAA Super Regional appearance in 2004 and the university’s reputation as one of the finest academic institutions in the country as the base for our recruiting efforts,” said Corbin. “We also have such a strong commitment from Chancellor Gordon Gee and Vice Chancellor David Williams and they have put a lot of time and effort into what we now have. Kids see that and see that Vanderbilt is making significant inroads in the baseball program.”

Vanderbilt was the only school specifically featured by Baseball America in its most recent publication sent out this week. College World Series participant Arizona State and national champion Texas had the second and third ranked classes respectively. Other SEC schools in the Top 12 were South Carolina (No. 4), Tennessee (No. 6), LSU (No. 7), Auburn (No. 10) and Mississippi (No. 10).

“It’s definitely a tribute to Vanderbilt University and the appeal of a high school baseball player to not only play at the highest level in the Southeastern Conference, but also receive one of the best educations in the country as well,” stated recruiting coordinator Erik Bakich.

“It’s important to know that even though we have got some talented freshmen that will play early, you may not really see their full potential until a few years down the road,” Corbin emphasized. “We have to temper ourselves to the fact that even though it is a great class we may not see the fruits of our labor for a couple of years.”

The baseball team is winding down its fall practice slate this week, culminating with the Black and Gold Series over the weekend. The split-squad series starts on Friday at 6 p.m. and will continue on Saturday at 11 a.m. and Sunday at 1 p.m.

Media contact: Thomas Samuel, (615) 322-4727