The Vanderbilt baseball team blasted Middle Tennessee on Tuesday Night, 21-2, as stud DH and closer Reed Hayes was 4-for-6 with a single, 2 doubles, a triple and Reed drove in six runs. He also pitched the ninth going 1-2-3 and striking out all 3 batters he faced. Wow. First baseman Julian Infante was 2-for-4 with his 8th homer on the season and Julian added 4 Ribeyes. Julian leads the team in hitting at .349 with 8 homers and 35 Ribbies. Centerfielder Jeren Kendall leads the team with 11 homers and 37 RBIs. Jeren is hitting .309. Jeren is projected to be a top 3 pick in the Major League draft in June. Third baseman Will Toffey is second on the team in hitting at .326 with 5 long ones and 37 steaks. Will's having a super year and should be a solid draft pick come June. But we're focused on the present right now. We're hitting .282 as a team. Been hitting it pretty well on the season. Second baseman Ethan Paul is back from a broken nose injury suffered in early April. Ethan is a valuable player for us both at the plate and in the field. He had a double and 3 ribbies on Tuesday Night.
We moved to 23-15 on the season and we're 7-8 in the SEC. We're close to peaking. We've got super players and a super team. I see us getting hot starting this weekend @ Georgia. We play the Dawgs Friday Night, Saturday Night and Sunday afternoon. Our game Friday in Athens is at 6 PM CT and will be televised by the U, ESPNU. Saturday's game is at 5 PM CT and Sunday we start at 12 PM CT. Both those games will be broadcast by SEC Network+. Looks like we'll go Patrick Raby Friday Night, Kyle Wright Saturday Night and Drake Fellows Sunday afternoon. At least that's been the rotation the past three weeks.
We had a pretty tough series with Florida last week at the Hawk. Thursday, we held a 6-5 lead heading into the top of the 9th, but gave up 5 runs in the 9th and lost a heartbreaker 10-6. Friday Night was a different story. Kyle looked like the top 5 draft pick he's expected to be. The junior from Huntsville, AL. was sensational. Kyle pitched a complete game shutout giving up only 3 hits with 0 walks and 13 K's. It was fantastic. Kyle threw 99 pitches with 73 for strikes against 26 balls, which is spectacular. His fastball was clocking anywhere from 93-96, but Kyle said his change up was his key pitch that got everything clickin. He also threw a pretty terrific curve ball. Everything was clicking for Kyle. The team won 2-0. It was a phenomenal performance by our young stud. With Kyle's performance last Friday Night, he was selected Perfect Game and National Collegiate Baseball Writers Association (NCBWA) national pitcher of the week. That's awesome. Proud for our young stallion.
Saturday was a really tough day for the entire team, coaches included. There was a ceremony celebrating the life of Donny Everett. No. 41 was honored and it was extremely moving and emotional. I just think the players were totally distraught after the ceremony because it brought back a difficult memory after losing their beloved teammate last June. The guys played as hard as they could though, like all Tim Corbin teams do, but we lost 20-8. Honoring Donny's life was a lot more important than the game that day. It's a lot more important than anything baseball related. It was a tough assignment to play after the ceremony though. Number 41 will always be remembered as the superb young man he was. Corbs talked about Donny to Kyle Peterson of ESPN last weekend and said, that Donny was the next great one at Vanderbilt in line with David Price, Sonny Gray, Mike Minor, Tyler Beede and Carson Fulmer. Donny clocked at 99 to 100 with his fastball, he had great overall stuff, he was a tremendous competitor an even better teammate, and he was an overall super young man who wanted to be great and wanted his team to excel. The Vanderbilt family will always miss him, and always honor him and play for him. Rest in peace my man.
So we don't forget Donny, but as Corbs said, we play with him the rest of this season. He's a major part of Vanderbilt baseball and always will be. Corbs has constantly talked about Donny's special parents, that they come around a lot, and have helped the players cope and helped themselves cope just being around the team. First class parents. The rest of this season should be a happy, passionate journey with Donny always a part of our team.
So it's onto Georgia with a talented team that I expect will be on a mission for their late teammate.
Women's tennis captures SEC regular season title, onto the SEC Tournament
Geoff McDonald has been to 17 Sweet 16's, 2 Elite 8's, 2 Final Fours, and won the national title two years ago in 2015 in his illustrious 23 year career at Vanderbilt. Every one of his teams have been to the NCAA Tournament. And this year's team will be no exception. But Geoff has missed out on one thing. He and his girls changed that on Sunday.
Senior Sydney Campbell clinched the SEC regular season title, Geoff's first amazingly, though he's had a quite a few 2nds, with some clutch play as we defeated now No.1 Florida to capture the SEC crown. Superb stuff from Sydney, Astra Sharma, Georgina Sellyn, Fernanda Contreras, Emily Smith, Emma Kurtz, Christina Rocca and the rest of the girls. They are something else. We are No.2 in the country according to the Intercollegiate Tennis Association rankings (ITA). We have a phenomenal team. Geoff and the girls celebrated the SEC title by going to Ruth's Chris in Nashville Tuesday Night. That's a lot to be proud of. Geoff told me that with "the toughest conference on the planet" in every sport every year, the SEC office rated women's tennis as the most competitive sport this year. To give you an example, Florida is No.1 in the country, VU is No.2, Georgia is No.4, South Carolina is 11th, Auburn is 12th, Arkansas is 14th, A&M is 17th, Kentucky is 19th, State is 20th, LSU is 21st, and UT is 22nd. That's unreal.
The tournament is interesting because we're the No.1 seed and Florida, ranked as the No. 1 team in the country, is the 3rd seed. Georgia is 2nd and South Carolina is 4th. So it's really remarkable what the girls and their coach have done. Geoff and his teams always get it done.
We play the winner of A&M-LSU tomorrow (Friday) at 3 PM at the Currey Center. Vanderbilt is hosting the tournament. A&M-LSU are playing today at 3 PM. You can go on the website and follow the girls on the VU facebook page. They are spectacular. Really proud of what Sydney, Astra, Georgina, Fernanda and our young girls have done. Astra is ranked 4th in the country in singles by the ITA, and Sydney is 11th. Astra and sophomore Emily Smith are ranked 3rd in the country in doubles. Geoff puts a high importance on doubles play. Always good to get that first point in a match. Our freshmen, Christina and Emma, have been superb players for us. Really excited that the girls captured the regular season and what the girls can do in the postseason starting tomorrow. Geoff has the same approach as Corbs. You just try to be your best every day. That's a super philosophy for life as well. That's why the girls are so successful on the courts and in the classroom where they hold collective 3.5 GPAs. This program is remarkable.
Men's golf heads to Sea Island for SEC Tourney
Spoke with Men's Golf coach Scott Limbaugh yesterday as his No.2 Vanderbilt golf team (Golfweek) get set to play in the SEC Golf Championship at the Seaside Course of Sea Island Golf Club this weekend, beginning tomorrow. Number 7 ranked player Matthias Schwab, No.15 Patrick Martin and No. 30 Theo Humphrey lead our team into the competition. The course is a 6,900 yard course, Par 70. There is always the wind to consider at Sea Island according to Scott, so we'll have to be smart in our club selection. This is as good of a prep for the NCAA's as you can get because the field could actually be stronger than the NCAA's. Southern Cal is the No.1 ranked team in the country by Golfweek, we're No. 2, LSU is No.3, Florida is No.6, A&M is 18, Auburn is 20, Ole Miss is 21, Georgia is 23, Missouri and Arkansas are 27 and 28 respectively, and 2 time national champion Alabama (2013 and 2014) is No. 37. So the competition is fierce.
Scott likes our team a lot though as he should. He's done a spectacular job with the guys. Mattias, Patrick, Theo, freshman John Augenstein, Will Gordon and the team will have to be at their best. Scott likes how the preparation has gone for the SEC and feels like we're ready. Excited to see how the team does.
Will keep you posted on all baseball, tennis and golf results throughout the weekend.
Next week I'll be talking some football and some basketball early in the week. Had a chance to talk to football Offenisive coordinator Andy Ludwig and senior defensive assistant and consultant to the head coach Osai Lewis, so will have that.
Bryce is on the verge of getting one or two more commits-signees as we're in it for a transfer or two, a graduate transfer, and some high school seniors. We could take as many as 3. Two might be more likely though. Bryce has a super freshman class so far, and next year's prospects for the team are extremely promising.
Will have more of that and football talk early next week. Have a terrific weekend.