Now in his 8th season, Vanderbilt Men’s head golf coach Scott Limbaugh has taken his program to greater and greater heights. Under Limbaugh’s leadership, the Commodore program has won 22 tournaments, has been to 6 NCAA Tournaments, 3 Elite Eights and a Final Four in 2017. But Limbaugh and his team want more in 2019. We have won 2 tournaments in a row, the Tavistock Collegiate Invitational at Windemere,, Florida in late October defeating No.7 LSU, No.15 Arizona State, No.16 Auburn, and No.22 Texas Tech among others. Will Gordon was the individual winner or low medalist in that event. And just 2 weeks ago, we were victorious again capturing the Gator Invitational in Gainesville defeating a solid field with Gordo again capturing low medalist honors. so quite a start for our team.
But Scott knows that this team has a lot of work ahead of it if they want to achieve their goals of becoming an elite team come May. First off, we play in the Querencia Cabo Intercollegiate tomorrow t(Sunday) through Tuesday in Los Cabos, Mexico against a loaded field. No.1 and defending national champion Oklahoma State is in the event, along with No.7 LSU, No. 11 Alabama, No. 15 Arizona State, and No.19 Texas A&M among others in the 12 team field. So a major but super challenge for our team to see where we stack up nationally at this point in the season. Then we’ll travel to Palm City, FL. Sunday, March 17th-Tuesday March 19th to play in an equally loaded Valspar Collegiate Championship tournament. April 5th-7th, we’ll host the Mason Rudolph Championship at our home course, the Legacy in Franklin, TN. We’ll then play in the Old Waverly Collegiate Championship in West Point, Mississippi April 15th-16th. The SEC Championship will be held at Sea Island, Georgia, Wednesday, April 24th-Sunday, April 28th. The NCAA Regionals start Monday, May 13th. The NCAA Championship will be played at the Blessings Golf Club in Fayetteville, Arkansas Friday, May 24th-Wednesday, May 29th.
So a lot of work ahead for our team. But I trust Coach Limbaugh, with his tremendous resume and reputation, to get this team to reach its potential like he has done with all our teams.
We are presently ranked 5th in the country according to Golfweek rankings and Gordo is ranked 6th in the country individually. Gordo is a senior. Senior Patrick “PMart” Martin is ranked 49th and junior John “Clutch” Augenstein is ranked No.50. Those guys are our big 3 and we need some of the younger guys to step up and give us depth to be seriously elite. But there is talent in that group of younger players.
Big tournament tomorrow in Los Cabos. Will be a nice gauge of where our team is presently, but the key is to keep peaking by the time the SEC Tournament starts and then, hopefully, the NCAA’s.
Our No.1 baseball team (D1 and Baseball America polls) defeated Dayton, 11-3, yesterday at Hawkins Field behind some stellar pitching by Drake Fellows and timely hitting. We moved to 7-2 on the season after this victory and the heartbreaking loss against Austin Peay Wednesday where we held a 5-3 lead in the 9th and couldn’t hold it, losing 7-6 in in 10.
Drake went 6, gave up 5 hits, 3 earned, with 2 walks and 13 K’s. Huge performance from Drake. Drake moved to 2-0. Mason Hickman came in for the last 3 innings and pitched well, giving up 3 hits, 0 runs with a walk and 5 K’s. Mason recorded his 2nd save of the season. So excellent pitching from both our guys. Left fielder Cooper Davis had 2 doubles and 3 Ribeyes on the night. J.J. Bleday was 2 for 3, which included his 3rd home run of the season. Philip Clarke also had 2 hits in 4 plate appearances with a double and an RBI. Austin Martin was 1 for 5 with 2 RBIs and is still hitting .500 on the season. Austin is a phenomenal player as are J.J., Cooper and Philip. We’ve got several tremendous players on this team.
We will play a doubleheader against Dayton today with the first game at 1 PM CT at the Hawk on SEC Network+. The second game will be 45 minutes after the completion of the first game. Patrick Raby will get the start for us in game 1. Rabes is 1-0 with an 0.93 ERA. He’s pitching fantastically well. He’ll face right hander Aaron Ernst of Dayton who is 0-1 with a 12.46 ERA. Game 2 pitchers are to be determined. Game 2 will also be broadcast by SEC Network+.
So good stuff from our guys. Will have a recap Monday on our team.
We play at A&M today. Tip-off is at 5 PM CT on the SEC Network. It would be awesome to get a victory today on the road. We’ve got a shot in College Station.
The women’s basketball team defeated Tennessee on Thursday Night, 76-69, in Knoxville. Awesome job by coach Stephanie White and the team. We close out the regular season Sunday at 2 PM CT at home versus Florida. The SEC Women’s Basketball Tournament starts next week. So great stuff from our women. Hopefully, that will get this thing cookin at the right time.
Our No.6 Women’s Tennis team started out the SEC season on a very high note notching a 7-0 victory over No. 39 Missouri. Third ranked (nationally) Fernanda Contreras, Georgia Drummy, Amanda Meyer, Carolyn Campana, Summer Dvorak and Emily Smith all won their respective singles matches. Summer and Amanda and Georgia and Emma Kurtz won their doubles matches to get that all important doubles point to start the match. Super effort by the women.
We’ll face No.41 Arkansas tomorrow at 1 PM CT at the Currey Tennis Center in Nashville. Our women deserve all the support they get because they are terrific representatives of Vanderbilt University with their on court and off court success. The SEC in women’s tennis is one of the most competitive of all sports in the conference. Just so many excellent teams, so we’ll have some exciting home and road matches coming up starting tomorrow. Our women achieved a 3.75 GPA in the fall. Just a highly motivated, successful group of women and competitors. Geoff always grooms his teams to be their best in March and April, and this season most likely will be no exception. We moved to 6-3 on the season.
The No.27 Men’s Tennis team fell to No.8 Mississippi State on the road. Still playing very good tennis at 10-3. We play at No. 30 Ole Miss tomorrow at 1 PM. Key match for out men. I’ll talk to Coach Ian Duvenhage in the next week or two about his potentially special team.
I’ll be talking to Women’s Golf Coach Jeff Allen this week about our No.5 nationally ranked Commodores Women’s Golf team. Abbey Carlson is ranked No.7 in the country and Auston Kim is ranked No.11. We have won 2 tournaments in a row, the UCF Challenge and the Reynolds Lake Oconee Invitational. We play in the Darius Rucker Intercollegiate in Hilton Head Island, S.C. next Friday through Sunday, March 8th-10th. Exciting stuff from Coach Allen and his women.
Just wanted to get back to what the women’s soccer team did in the fall. They finished 16-4-1 and won the SEC regular season championship. We made it to the second round of the NCAA Tournament. And with many of our players returning next fall, next year’s prognosis looks extremely promising for Coach Darren Ambrose and his team. This is an emerging program nationally and it’s going to be an electric fall for our team.
I’ll have a report on our football team this week including our signing class, the talented players on our team now, the new coaches on our staff and the prospects for 2019. There is a 5 way battle at quarterback with Deuce Wallace, Riley Neal and Allan Walters as the leaders right now. Mo Hassan and freshman early enrollee Jamil Muhammad are competing hard as well. Both are very talented players. A lot of talent competing at that position for the fall. Love our Big Three of running back KeShawn Vaughn, wide receiver Kalija Lipscomb and tight end Jared Pinkney. Huge to get those 3 back. Coach Mason said that was his best recruiting job of 2019 getting those 3 to return for their senior seasons. We will be very explosive on offense this upcoming season if our quarterback can come through and we’ve got talent at that spot. Really like Deuce and Riley has good credentials coming from Ball State. He is a graduate transfer. We really have some playmakers in the backfield and at wide receiver with Kalija, Amir-Abdul Rahman, Cam Johnson, and C.J. Bolar among others. We have some young guys coming in who can help. Tight end with Jared and some young guys will be stout. Along with KeShawn we have talented sophomore Ja’Veon Marlow along with junior Jamauri Wakefield and some highly talented freshmen coming in. And we have an offensive line that looks very promising with great size, athletic ability and strength. The defense will need to reload some and definitely improve from that Texas Bowl performance against Baylor. Our secondary is talented. Our linebackers should even be better this season as should our defensive line. So the defense could be pretty stout by game 1 versus Georgia at home.
The schedule makers didn’t do us any favors scheduling Georgia in game 1, a road game @ Purdue, an open date, and then a home game versus LSU. But they’re on the schedule and we’ll go into each one of those 3 games with the intention of winning. I like what this team can be in Coach Mason’s 6th season. We’ll play @Florida, @South Carolina, @Tennessee and @Ole Miss with Kentucky, Missouri, Northern Illinois, UNLV and East Tennessee State coming to Vanderbilt Stadium. So we have our work cut out for us, but believe in what Coach Mason and the players are doing. We can be a very solid football team in 2019.
The Black and Golf Scrimmage will be held Saturday, March 30th at 11 AM CT at Vanderbilt Stadium. You can watch it on the SEC Network. Great stuff ahead for our program and I like the freshmen we have coming in and the returning players we have coming back. More on the team this coming week.