Commodores Fall to No.5 in Latest Baseball America Rankings

Greg Arias

The excitement was high for the start of the 2020 baseball season for the defending champion Vanderbilt Commodores before they left Nashville for the season opener at the MLB4 Collegiate Baseball Tournament in Scottsdale, Az. 

Things didn't go as well as most had hoped on opening weekend as the Commodores dropped two of three games in the desert, and doing it in a most unexpected way.  

Thanks to the losses, the Commodores fell from the top spot in the Baseball America preseason rankings down to number five. 

While not a  tremendous fall, it does leave Commodore fans- and likely Tim Corbin and Scott Brown too- wondering just what happened at Talking Stick. 

Commodores closer Tyler Brown suffered the loss in both the opening game against Michigan on Friday and Sunday's loss to Cal-Poly. Brown, one of the most dominant closers in college baseball last season was expected to be the same this campaign, but he was far from that this weekend.    

It's far too soon to be down on Brown, but his performance does leave questions that he must find answers for if he is to return to the dominant place he was last season.

Now ranked fifth, behind new number one Michigan who had a stellar weekend in the Arizona sun, conference foe Florida, now number two along with Miami and Texas Tech at three and four, the Commodores come home to face South Alabama Tuesday afternoon at Hawkins Field,     

Baseball America had this to say of Vanderbilt's weekend. 

"Vanderbilt was close to going 3-0 in the MLB4 Tournament, but instead, ended the weekend with a 1-2 record. In games against Michigan and Cal Poly, they went into the ninth inning with leads, only to see them evaporate. Against the Wolverines, Matt Schmidt connected for a two-run homer in the ninth inning off closer Tyler Brown to hand the Commodores the loss. On Sunday against the Mustangs, Brown again suffered a blown save, although defensive miscues also played a big role, and Cal Poly won it on a walk-off sac fly off the bat of Tate Samuelson. In the game 2 win over Connecticut, righthander Kumar Rocker was his typical self. He had a rough second inning that saw him walk in the Huskies’ only run, but otherwise, he was outstanding. At the end of the day, he had thrown six innings, giving up two hits and one unearned run with three walks and nine strikeouts. Being that it’s just two one-run losses in one weekend, there’s little reason to be alarmed at Vanderbilt’s losing weekend."

While I agree that it is far too early to panic in any way, the fact that Brown struggled so is concerning, but it is early and there is time for him to get right and return to form. 

Still, fans are disappointed, but as I wrote last week, this is not last year's Commodores and it just might take some time to figure things out, Brown just wasn't one of those things anyone thought would need figuring out.