Fall baseball practice began Sept. 25 with high hopes and plenty of excitement. A newly renovated Hawkins Field and the country’s No. 1 recruiting class have only added to the buzz around the team after last season’s run to the NCAA tournament despite a slow start.
The grass is greener when it's turf
Practice began before the new mound, which is the only non-turf part of the field, had even been completed. The new Hawkins field will be only one of only two college baseball stadiums in the country to be all turf excluding the mound, with Wichita State being the other. The players are not worried about the adjustment, however.
“Having been here for three years with the grass, it’s a little bit of an adjustment,” said senior outfielder Connor Harrell. “But we’re excited about the change.
“Coach Corbin did a good job of making sure that the surface played true like a grass field. The green part plays like grass and the brown part plays like dirt.”
Corbin, who is known as a baseball traditionalist, was not originally in favor of the switch to turf, but says that the change was necessary because of Nashville’s inconsistent weather.
“It takes (worrying about the weather) out of the element. You still look at the weather report, but you are not stuck on it as much as you were before,” Corbin said.
The rain has affected offseason workouts as well, which is something Corbin thinks the turf can help avoid in the crucial months of November, December and January.
The week of practice has also given the first look at the 11 freshmen that made up Collegiate Baseball’s No. 1 recruiting class in the country. The group has impressed so far, with Corbin going as far as to say some will not only get significant playing time, but may even start in the spring.
“They’ve come out here and played with some humility,” Corbin said. “But at the same time, there is a lot of confidence in how they act and how they run around the field.”
The Commodores will wrap up fall practice with the annual intrasquad Black and Gold scrimmage series on Oct. 25, 26 and 28.