April 28, 2017
By LOU PAVLOVICH, JR.
NASHVILLE, Tenn. — Full-throttle, aggressive play is one of the most fascinating areas to study in baseball.
When you see certain teams that utilize this petal-to-the-metal style, it reminds people of wide open offenses in football or basketball which allow points to be scored left and right.
It is almost a high risk, high reward mentality that coaches live by with this system of play.
But when you dig in deeper, being aggressive in baseball is a high percentage move that causes mistakes by the opposition and gives tremendous energy to the teams that utilize it.
In this special report on being aggressive in baseball, Collegiate Baseball talks to one of the masters of this philosophy in Tim Corbin of Vanderbilt.
Under Corbin, the Commodores have appeared in the College World Series three times and won the national title in 2014.
That year, Vanderbilt swiped 17 bases (in 23 attempts) over seven games which was three times more than any team in the field at the College World Series.
The 17 stolen bases tied a College World Series all-time record for most stolen bases by a team. During the 1955 CWS, Oklahoma State also had 17.
During the championship game, Vanderbilt executed a perfect double steal when Dansby Swanson and Bryan Reynolds pilfered second and third which ultimately allowed the Commodores to score a crucial run.
A second round matchup with U.C. Irvine would be a showcase for Vanderbilt’s running game.
Coming into the College World Series, the Anteaters only allowed 18 stolen bases on 37 attempts over 63 games – one of the most impressive figures of any team ever entering the CWS.
Vanderbilt stunned U.C. Irvine by swiping five bases in six attempts.
During the Championship Finals against Virginia, the Commodores stole five more bases over three games.
Entering the College World Series, Virginia had only allowed 20 stolen bases in 38 attempts over 63 games.
Vanderbilt ended the season with 120 stolen bases which ranked third nationally.
One year later in 2015, the Commodores qualified for the College World Series, and they came one game short of winning another national title.
This time Vanderbilt, with much of the same team returning from 2015, only stole four bases at the College World Series over six games yet were 16-for-16 in stolen bases in 11 games during the NCAA tournament that season. For the season, the Commodores swiped 106 bases.
“I think that every coach, for the most part, wants some type of aggressiveness with their team whether it be with the bat or whether it is with their feet,” said Corbin.
“I guess it goes back to how we wanted our program to operate going back to 2003-2005 when I was in my first few years at Vanderbilt. We may have not had the parts to move as fast as what we wanted to, but we tried none the less and trained to do that.
“I think a lot of aggressiveness for teams is cyclical. You can have a team that is physically fast, but yet there are periods of the year, depending on who you play and the time you play, where you can run or want to run. A lot of it depends on the situation.
“We talk to our kids about running a ‘spread offense’ similar to what they have in football today as you see balanced, wide offenses which score a lot of points. In baseball, I define that as bringing a tool kit to the field and pulling out a bunt, slash, fake bunt, run and hit, hit and run or safety squeeze.”
To read the rest of this in-depth article on full-throttle hustle and why it pays off big in games, purchase the April 21, 2017 edition or subscribe to Collegiate Baseball by CLICKING HERE.