The No.1 Vanderbilt baseball team had a nice Sunday morning/afternoon at Hawkins Field sweeping a doubleheader over Pepperdine, 6-3 in the first game and 6-2 in the nightcap. We are No.1 in the D-1 Baseball Poll and the Baseball American Poll and No.2 in the Collegiate Baseball and National Collegiate Baseball Writers Poll. LSU is No.1 in those polls. We are now 5-1 on the season. LSU is 7-0.
The hitting and pitching were very good Sunday. The defense is still a work in progress. In the first game, Drake Fellows went 6, gave up 5 hits, 1 earned run with 1 walk and 9 K’s. Drake was terrific. Mason Hickman finished it off going the final 3 frames giving up 4 hits, 2 earned with 0 walks and 4 K’s. What I loved about Drake’s and Mason’s performances respectively is that they were throwing strikes. I know that sounds like a simple comment, but accuracy as a pitcher is just as important as accuracy as a quarterback. it’s essential and both Drake and Mason were super accurate, always over the plate. Both pitched extremely well. Austin Martin was 4 for 5 with 2 RBIs. Philip Clarke had 2 hits and 2 ribbies in 4 at bats, and Cooper Davis and J.J. Bleday each had a pair of hits. So did Ty Duvall, who is hard to keep out of the lineup with his play behind the plate and in the batter’s box.
In the second game, Patrick Raby went 4, gave up 2 hits, 2 unearned runs with 3 walks and 5 strikeouts. We’re starting to see the Patrick Raby from 2 years ago so far this year. Like what I’m seeing out of Rabes. Kumar Rocker came in and got the victory going 3, giving up 2 hits, with 0 walks and 5 K’s. Tyler Brown pitched the 8th and did well, giving up no hits or runs with 0 walks and a K. And maybe the standout on our pitching staff so far, sophomore lefty Jake Eder cam in for the 9th and struck out all 3 batters he faced. Jake brings it mid to high 90’s and looks like he could be a heckuva closer for us. Cooper Davis had a 2 run triple and finished with 2 hits. Bleday went 2 for 3 with 2 Ribeyes and Philip Clarke hit a solo shot. We had an error in the first game committed by Drake and Austin Martin and Jayson Gonzalez committed errors in the second game. Need to shore that up. I know Corbs is concerned and working with the guys on that.
We play today at 4:30 vs Southeast Missouri State at 4:30 PM CT at the Hawk. Southpaw Zach King will get the start for us. Zach is 0-0 with a 2.25 ERA. He’ll face lefty Austin Sachse of SEMO. Sachse is 1-0 with a 0.oo ERA. So should be a challenge for our hitters. The game will be broadcast by SEC Network+ on the computer.
We play Austin Peay tomorrow at 4:30 PM CT at the Hawk. Pitchers are to be determined. That game will also be broadcast by SEC Network+.
So, good start to the season. Our defense needs to improve, and it should. Some guys just trying to figure some things out. We’re still making good plays in the field, just need to tighten it up a little bit in the infield. Outfield of Davis,, Pat DeMarco and Bleday are doing well. Very good defensive outfield. With Stephen Scott at first as Julian Infante is out at present, Austin Martin at 2nd, Ethan Paul at short and Gonzalez or Harrison Ray at 3rd, those are great athletes and good fielders typically. It’s early in the season, so they’re just working the kinks out. Need to get better defensively though.
After being down by 23 in Tuscaloosa in the first half to Alabama, our team kept competing hard and only lost 68-61 to the Crimson Tide on Saturday. I thought we outplayed them from the 4 minute mark of the first half through the entire second half. Still trying to get that chemistry, but we really showed signs particularly in the second half on Saturday. Simi definitely showed signs as did Yanni Wetzell. I always like what I see out of Aaron Nesmith. Saben didn’t have his best game, but he always plays hard. That’s the thing about this team; despite the record, they give it everything they’ve got. There is never a lack of effort. They’re going to figure it out soon hopefully tomorrow night versus Florida at home on the SEC Network at 8 PM CT. I enjoy watching our team play. You can tell they’re well coached. Bryce to me is a phenomenal coach despite some of the bad press he’s getting. He’s going to get this thing turned around. Big opportunity tomorrow night at home to get our first SEC victory. It’s incremental steps for this basketball team. I like this group and we’ve got most all of them returning next season except for Joe Toye. But I want to see Joe have some success this season. If we can just get tomorrow night, we’ll see how it feels and maybe get hot the rest of this season. Please hang in there with these guys. Much better times are ahead for this team under Bryce.
Thursday: Geoff McDonald and VU Women’s Tennis
Friday: Scott Limbaugh and VU Men’s Golf
Both teams are very exciting as are women’s golf and men’s tennis. Will have more on those 2 teams as well in the coming days.
Football cranks up for the spring tomorrow. Spring game is Saturday, March 30th at 11 AM CT on the SEC Network. Some exciting players back with Ke’Shawn Vaughn, Kalija Lipscomb, and Jared Pinkney. The quarterback battle will be very interesting with 5 guys competing for QB1. Will have a much more in-depth report next week. Sorry I’m a little late with it, but will have it at some point next week. Thanks.