Jim Callis

Commodores loaded for run at repeat

Commodores loaded for run at repeat

Just six schools have repeated as College World Series champions, starting with Texas in 1949-50. Southern California won an unprecedented five straight national titles in 1970-74, and since then Stanford (1987-88), Louisiana State (1996-97), Oregon State (2006-07) and South Carolina (2010-11) have won back-to-back crowns.

Vanderbilt has a strong chance of joining that list a year from now. While the Commodores lose right-handers Tyler Beede (drafted 14th overall by the Giants) and Adam Ravenelle (a Tigers fourth-rounder) and Conde, the majority of their team will return. Baseball America's Aaron Fitt, the leading authority on college baseball, says Vanderbilt is a virtual lock to rank No. 1 at the start of 2015.

Beede was the sixth Commodores pitcher drafted in the first round in the last decade, and sophomore right-handers Carson Fulmer, Walker Buehler and perhaps Tyler Ferguson should add to that list next year. Freshman righty Hayden Stone, who won the super-regional clincher as well as the CWS semifinal and finale, can take over from Ravenelle as Vanderbilt's closer. Besides Conde, every other lineup regular should return.

Commodores coach Tim Corbin acknowledged that his club is very young for a national champion, and that experience was a concern at the outset of fall practice.

"Probably the biggest question was whether we could pull off something like this with a younger group that hasn't had as many repetitions," Corbin said. "I just think it's mental toughness. I questioned them on it going back to August and September, and I thought that was the one element we had to develop to be successful. We grew so much and developed that component, which was very crucial for us."