Nashville Regional team capsules #iubase

No. 1 VANDERBILT COMMODORES
The Commodores begin their defense of the 2014 national championship in Friday’s regional opener against Lipscomb. It’s the 10th consecutive NCAA Tournament appearance for Vanderbilt, which is hosting a regional at Hawkins Field in downtown Nashville for the fourth time in five years. Coach Tim Corbin’s team returns to its home ballpark after dropping the Southeastern Conference Championship game to Florida on Sunday. The Commodores have a 2.58 team ERA, a .298 team average and a 24-8 record at home this season. Since Corbin’s arrival in 2003, no SEC school has sent more players (77) into pro ball. The Commodores have four players on the Golden Spikes Watch List, including SEC Pitcher of the Year Carson Fulmer. The right-hander led the SEC in wins (11), strikeouts (132) and ERA (1.51). Another Golden Spikes candidate, Dansby Swanson, leads a potent Vandy lineup that averages 6.6 runs per game. Swanson enters the regional with a 10-game hitting streak, over which he has a .378 average, 11 extra-base hits and 15 RBIs.

No. 2 RADFORD HIGHLANDERS
The Highlanders won their first Big South Tournament title last weekend, but their NCAA Tournament destiny was secured long before. Radford, which finished the season ranked No. 17 in the RPI — four spots behind Vanderbilt — was one of the final contenders to become a regional host this weekend. With 15 consecutive wins, it’s one of four tournament teams to carry a double-digit winning streak into the field of 64. Radford has won 37 of its last 43 games and 19 of its last 20. Among Vanderbilt (11), Indiana (25) and Lipscomb (173), Radford (94) has the second weakest strength of schedule in the Nashville Regional, according to D1Baseball.com. The Highlanders will be without top hitter Josh Gardiner, who is inactive for the regional after suffering a fractured patella. Gardiner, a First-Team All-Big South second baseman, has a .368 average and 22 RBIs, but he hasn’t played since May 2. Radford will lean on left-hander Michael Boyle in the opener against the Hoosiers. Boyle is the first Radford pitcher to record 10 wins in a season and joined Gardiner on the all-league first team.

No. 3 INDIANA HOOSIERS
The Hoosiers are playing their best ball of the year after picking up a pair of wins in four games at last week’s Big Ten Tournament. IU, which has 11 victories in its last 14 games, boasts eight RPI top 50 wins to go along with a lineup and pitching staff that seem to be synching at the perfect time. Indiana has never played either Radford or Lipscomb, and takes a 4-8-1 record against Vanderbilt into the weekend. Scott Donley leads the Hoosiers with a .325 average, 37 RBIs and is second with 69 hits. Luke Harrison, who has made each of his last two appearances as a starter, leads IU with 58 strikeouts over 48 innings, while Friday starter Kyle Hart leads the staff with a 1.48 ERA. The Hoosiers are 9-8 in 17 all-time NCAA Tournament games, with wins in eight of their last 12 tries. Meanwhile, Indiana has seen 33 of its 56 games decided by three runs or less, including 17 by one run.

No. 4 LIPSCOMB BISONS
The Bisons won the Atlantic Sun Tournament to earn an automatic bid and join the crosstown regional. It’s only the second NCAA Tournament appearance, and first since 2008, for Lipscomb, which beat then-No. 1 Vanderbilt at Hawkins Field on April 7. But the Bisons are only 2-10 at Hawkins Field in their program history, with the only other win coming in 2006. Thought Lipscomb appears to be the weakest team in the regional, it has 13 wins over its last 16 games. Shortstop Grant Massey leads the Bison with a .351 average and 78 hits, while left fielder Jonathan Allison has seven homers and a team-best 54 RBIs. Lipscomb led the A-Sun Conference in steals (90), opposing batting average (.252) and fewest earned runs allowed (207). Friday starter Ian Martinez-McGraw finished third in the league in ERA (2.50) and wins (seven).