Vandy baseball players return home from Cuba

For four Vanderbilt Commodores baseball players, there finally is time for rest after the summer of a lifetime.

Dansby Swanson, Bryan Reynolds and Carson Fulmer rode the high of last month’s national championship win straight into international competition as members of Team USA’s collegiate national team.

The invitation to continue their summer with the nation’s elite included trips to the Netherlands and Cuba as part of a 28-game tour that stretched over five weeks, ending on Sunday.

The Commodores faced a bit of ribbing for their late arrival to the team, which began competition while the Vanderbilt players were still in Omaha.

“They gave us a hard time,” Swanson said of his Team USA teammates. “They said, ‘Oh, they’re national champions so I guess they can just come whenever they want.'”

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But the Vanderbilt players integrated quickly. Reynolds, a Brentwood native, hit a grand slam in just his third game with the team, helping USA to a 6-2 victory over Chinese Taipei on July 2.

“We developed into a family pretty fast,” Swanson said. “We loved being around each other because we all have the same ambitions and dreams. And we were playing for our country against other countries, it was more than just being a member of Team USA.”

Swanson, who said the tour was his first trip out of the country, finished with a .288 batting average over 66 at-bats, which was second highest on the team.

Reynolds hit .246 with 14 RBIs in 57 at-bats.

Fulmer went 3-1 in five appearances (four starts), posting an 0.73 ERA and .141 OBA in 24 ⅔ innings.

Team USA finished the summer with an 18-8-2 record, though the season ended on a sour note after being swept in a five-game series at Cuba.

“The atmosphere in Cuba was crazy,” Swanson said. “It was a big deal with us playing down there. They would have a couple thousand people there and they were all huge baseball fans. They were loud and fun.”

Walker Buehler was a late addition to the Team USA roster, making just one appearance. He did not allow an earned run in 6 ⅓ innings of relief at Cuba.


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