Baseball keeps cookin, MLB guys, Stack gets '19 commit, our now NFL guys, Men's golf prepares for the NCAA's, women's, men's tennis

The now No.4 Vanderbilt Baseball team (D1Baseball.com rankings) just swept the Auburn Tigers with some more stellar hitting and excellent starting pitching in a 9-5 victory before 3,625 fans at Hawkins Field on Saturday.

We moved to 34-9 overall and 15-6 in the SEC and are tied with Arkansas for the co-lead in the conference. If we ended up tied with the Razorbacks in the standings, we would win the tiebreaker by virtue of our head to head matchup in which we won 2 of 3. Georgia, Mississippi State and Ole Miss are each at 13-8. Texas A&M is next at 11-9-1. In the national rankings, UCLA is ranked No.1 (34-7), Stanford is No.2 (31-7), Oregon State is No.3 (31-10-1) Arkansas is No.5 (34-11), Mississippi State is No.6 (36-9)and Georgia is No.9 (33-12).

We pounded out 15 hits against Tigers pitching on Saturday. The sensational JJ Bleday connected on his 21st homer of the season. A two run shot over the right central field wall to score Austin Martin, who reached after being hit by a pitch. JJ is once again tied Kody Hoese of Tulane for the national lead with those 21 homers. Pat DeMarco was 4 for 5 with an RBI and his average keeps climbing. It is now at .276. It was .230 about 2 weeks ago, so Pat, after his hamstring injury that kept him sidelined for a month, is back to being the awesome Pat DeMarco. Harrison Ray was 3 for 4 with an RBI and a triple. He also made a terrific head first slide at home to beat a throw to the plate on a sac fly by Julian Infante. Ethan Paul, Philip Clarke, and Ty Duvall each collected 2 hits on the afternoon. It was an awesome performance by the bats once again. We are now batting .317 as a team. Austin is hitting .405 with 11 doubles, 4 triples and 6 stolen bases, Ethan is hitting .353 with 15 doubles, 5 homers and 49 Ribeyes, JJ is hitting .343 with 21 homers and 56 Ribbies, Philip is hitting .325 with 11 doubles, 2 triples, 6 homers and 48 RBIs, Stephen Scott, who got injured Friday Night sliding into the left field wall trying to catch a fly ball in foul territory and missed Saturday’s game, is hitting .323 with a team leading 15 doubles, 6 homers and 34 RBIs. Harrison Ray is batting .286 after his big day on Saturday, and has 6 doubles, 2 triples and is 13 of 16 in stolen bases. We stole 3 bases Saturday with DeMarco getting 2, his 3rd and 4th on the season. Ethan Paul stole his 6th base of the year. We did some more running on Saturday. This program has a tradition for stealing bases, and we’ve looked more aggressive on the base paths lately. We made a couple of running miscues this past weekend we’ll need to make sure we don’t let happen again. We are 45-of-61, 74%, in stolen bases. Our opponents are 27-of-40, 68%, so that’s a weapon to our advantage.

Patrick Raby put together another terrific start on Saturday, with our third stellar start in a row against Auburn. Rabes went 6.1 innings, gave up 5 hits, 1 run with 4 walks and 8 K’s. The home plate umpire had a pretty tight strike zone, so some of those walks came on very close pitches. Jake Eder came in and got hit around some, but Ethan Smith came in for the 9th and closed it out. Rabes moved to 7-1 on the season with a 2.77 ERA. Mason Hickman who came in relief of Drake Fellows on Thursday Night and pitched 4 solid innings, is 5-0 with a 2.04 ERA. Mason has been primarily our midweek guy. He’ll probably get the call tomorrow night against Tennessee Tech with first pitch at 6:30 at the Hawk with SEC Network+ broadcasting. Drake has been superb going a nation leading 9-0 with a 3.67 ERA. He had to battle Thursday Night through some incredibly challenging weather conditions, it was pouring and hard to grip the ball, but he recorded another victory to his and his team’s resume. Kumar Rocker was sensational again and is now 5-4 with a 4.31 ERA. But he has walked only 13 and struck out 51. His last 4 starts have been spectacular. He has lived up to his billing as one of the top recruits in the country in 2018. Our bullpen, besides Tyler Brown, Ethan Smith and most of the time Hugh Fisher, has struggled. We need to keep solidifying that group so we can be really a strong team heading into May. Great stuff from this baseball team though. Defense is very solid fielding at a .982 clip, 2nd in the conference and top 5 in the country. Our opponents are fielding at a .970 percentage.

We play @ South Carolina this weekend with Friday’s game at 6 PM CT on SEC Network+, Saturday’s game at 7 PM CT on ESPNU, and Sunday’s game at 12:30 PM CT on SEC Network+.

MLB guys

Dansby Swanson

Dans is hitting .250 for the Braves with 5 homers, 22 Ribbies, 5 doubles and 2 triples. He’s also stolen 2 out of 3 bases. Would like to see Dans get on board and run some more because he’s so fast. He was 1 for 3 yesterday with an RBI double in the Braves 8-7 victory over the Colorado Rockies at Sun Trust Stadium in Atlanta. The Braves are now 13-14 and 2 1/2 games back of the Phillies in the NL East. The Phils are 16-12. The Mets are 2nd at 14-13 and the Braves are 3rd. The Braves have been playing pretty well this season, just need some more consistency with the pitching. Bats are excellent. The Braves play the resurgent San Diego Padres in a 4 game series starting tonight at home. First pitches for tonight through Wednesday’s games are at 6:20 CT. Thursday’s game is at 11:10 AM CT. Then the Braves will head to Miami to play the Marlins over the weekend.

Bryan Reynolds

Bryan has gotten off to a blazing start for the Pittsburgh Pirates. The 24 year old rookie is hitting .429 with 9 hits in 21 plate appearances. Bryan has collected 4 doubles. He got a hit as a pinch hitter yesterday in a 7-6 loss to the Dodgers. Bryan is playing center for the Pirates. The Bucs are 12-14 and 4 1/2 games back of the NL Central leading St. Louis Cardinals, which are 17-10.

Tony Kemp

Tony has gotten off to a slow start this season for the Astros hitting only .184 but had a homer and a triple in the past week. He’s playing exceptional defense in left field as always. Would like to see Tony get that bat going because he is certainly capable of putting up stellar hitting numbers and he always plays outstanding defense and can steal bases with his gazelle like speed. The Astros are tough once again at 17-11 and leading the AL West by a 1/2 game over the Seattle Mariners, which are 18-13.

Curt Casali

Curt is hitting .306 with 0 homers and 5 RBIs for the Cincinnati Reds. Curt had a big game Friday Night versus the Cardinals in a 12-1 Reds’ victory. He was 3 for 5 with a double and 4 Ribeyes. He’s been doing an awesome job backing up the Reds starting catcher, Tucker Barnhart. The Reds are struggling a little at 11-18, but only 6 back of the Cards and have played some good baseball at times this season.

Sonny Gray

Sonny, of the Reds, lost a tough one to St. Louis yesterday, 5-2. Sonny pitched 5, gave up 3 hits, 2 earned runs, with a pair of walks and 5 K’s. He’s pitched well this season, but has no victories to show for it. Sonny is 0-4 with a 3.64 ERA and an 0.98 WHIP (walks +hits per inning pitched). The ERA is good and the WHIP is excellent. Anything under 1.10 is very good. Anything under 1.00 is terrific. If Sonny keeps pitching like this, good things are going to happen for him and his club.

Mike Minor

Mike, who has been awesome this season, was once again awesome Saturday Night going 7, giving up only 3 hits, 1 earned, a homer, with a walk and 13 K’s. Mike threw 111 pitches with 76 for strikes against 35 balls a better than 2:1 strike to ball ratio which is the baseline ratio of what you need to be successful. Mike is now 3-2 with a 2.88 ERA, an 0.91 WHIP and a .179 batters average against him, which is sensational. He has walked 12 and struck out 39. Mike has been phenomenal this season. The Rangers are playing solid baseball at 14-13 and only 2 1/2 back of the Astros in the AL West.

David Price

David took a hard luck loss Saturday, 2-1 to the Tampa Bay Rays. Dave went 6, gave up 4 hits, 2 earned, with 3 walks and 7 K’s. He gave up one homer to Tommy Pham of the Rays. David has pitched well. In 5 starts, his record is only 1-2, but his ERA is 3.60 and his WHIP is 1.07. Opponents batting average is .220 against him which is excellent. He has walked 8 and struck out 37. The Sox have dug themselves a hole. They lost 2 of 3 to the Rays at Fenway over the weekend to drop to 11-17 on the season. They’ve had some injuries to key players, but they need to get it together right now. They are 7 1/2 back of the Rays in the AL East. The amazing Rays are 18-9 and lead the surging Yankees (17-11) by a game and a half.

Walker Buehler

Walker has struggled some this season for the Dodgers though the team is doing well. Walk is 2-0, which is good, but has a 5,25 ERA and a 1.17 WHIP, Opponents are hitting .230 against him which is solid. He’s walked 8 and K’d 18. I think Walker is still dealing with an injury he sustained in spring training. Not the Walker Buehler we’re used to yet, but I’m sure he’ll get it crankin soon. Walker pitches tomorrow night @ the Giants. The Dodgers are 19-11 and lead the San Diego Padres by 2 games in the NL West..

Drew VerHagen

Drew is hanging tough with the Detroit Tigers as he is 1-0 with a 7.71 ERA. He has 7 walks and 7 K’s,. Needs to pick it up a little bit to play a more important role in the Tigers’ prospects this season. The Tigers are playing decent baseball at 12-14 and 4 1/2 games back of the Minnesota Twins in the AL Central. The Tigers are in 3rd. The Cleveland Indians are 2 back and in 2nd place at 15-12.

Stack lands commit for 2019

Vanderbilt Basketball Coach Jerry Stackhouse landed a third player to this 2019 class as 6’6”, 200 pound 87, 3 star small forward Jordan Wright committed to VU on Friday. Jordan is from Baton Rouge, LA, and chose us over offers from Georgia Tech, Houston, Texas A&M, TCU, Virginia Tech and Minnesota among others. Jordan was an all state and all metro selection by the Louisiana Sports Writers Association and helped his school Dunham win the Division III championship in 2018.

This season, he averaged 19.1 points, 8 rebounds and 6 assists and was named first team All State in Louisiana by USA Today. According to the Baton Rouge Advocate in his senior season, Jordan scored a 30 on his ACT.

Jordan is the third pledge to the class joining 93 4 star power forward Dylan Disu (6’8”, 210) and 87 3 star point guard Scotty Pippen Jr., a 6’1” point guard. Both Disu and Pippen Jr have signed. Expecting Wright’s signature soon.

Stack may not be through with this class. There could be another commit-signee from high school and a transfer. We lost 4 star small forward Austin Crowley when Bryce Drew was fired and Yanni Wetzell and Matt Ryan appear to be transferring and Darius Garland and Simi Shittu going pro, but we have a pretty solid nucleus assembled for next season. With these 3 additions and maybe 1 or 2 more to go along with Saben Lee, Ejike Obinna, who is 6’10” and coming off a redshirt season, Aaron Nesmith, our great shooting guard, Maxwell Evans, who has good talent, 6’ 9” Clevon Brown and 6’9” power forward Matthew Moyer, we’ve got potential. Another player or 2 would help. Good stuff from Stack and the program. Will keep you posted.

New NFL guys from our program

As reported earlier, Joejuan Williams was selected in the second round by the New England Patriots joining established Patriots defensive tackle Adam Butler from VU. Justin Skule was drafted by the San Francisco 49ers in the 6th round. He’ll join Jordan Matthews in the Bay Area. JMatt signed a deal with the 49ers in the offseason. Kyle Shurmur signed as a free agent by the Kanas City Chiefs. Maybe Kyle can develop out there and if Patrick Mahomes has any injury issues, Kyle can get a shot. Running back Khari Blassingame signed as a free agent with the Minnesota Vikings joining Vanderbilt standout and Vikings starting defensive end Stephen Weatherly in MInnesota. Center Bruno Reagan will join Kyle in Kansas City as a free agent. Defensive end Dare Odeyingbo signed as a free agent deal with the Tampa Bay Bucs. Josh Smith, an excellent linebacker for us, signed with the Green Bay Packers where he will join Oren Burks, who is trying to make his way in Green Bay. Louis Vecchio, who had a very solid year for us as a graduate transfer from Penn, signed a free agent deal with the Philadelphia Eagles. Didn’t see anything on Jordan Griffin, which was surprising. Hoping Jordan can get picked up as well. He was a tackling machine for us last year and a total leader on his team.

Men’s Golf

The Men’s Golf team fell heartbreakingly to Arkansas in the quarterfinals of the SEC Championships on Saturday. We lost the Match Play match 3-2 to the Razorbacks. We had a 2-1 lead with 2 matches left, but Reid Davenport and Harrison Ott were defeated in 19 holes. Tough one. But we’re in the NCAA field which will be announced this Wednesday at 8 PM CT on Golf Channel’s Golf Central program. Play will begin on Monday, May 13th. Will let you know where we go. There are 81 teams and 45 individuals that will be selected to the 6 regional sites. The 45 individual players are from teams that don’t qualify for the NCAA’s. Thirteen teams and 10 individuals will qualify at 3 sites and 14 teams and 5 individuals will qualify at the other 3 sites. The host sites are Palouse Ridge Golf Club in Pullman, Washington, Stanford Golf Course at Stanford, CA., TPC Myrtle Beach in South Carolina, University of Louisville Golf Club in Kentucky, University of Georgia Golf Course in Athens and University of Texas Golf Club in Austin. The top 5 teams for each regional advance to the NCAA Championships at Blessings Golf Course in Fayetteville, Arkansas, May 24th-29th.

Disappointing finish for our team, but Arkansas did win it all, so we gave them everything they wanted and it was probably a good learning experience for our team heading into the NCAA’s. Will let you know on where we go after it’s announced Wednesday.

Women’s, Men’s Tennis

The Men’s and Women’s Tennis selection show is today at 5 and 5:30 PM CT. The Men’s Field will be announced at 5 PM CT and the Women will be announced at 5:30 PM CT.

The Women finished the season at 16-7 overall and 10-3 in the SEC’s falling to South Carolina in the semifinals of the SEC Championships after winning their quarterfinal match over Kentucky. But the women had a super year and Fernanda Contreras and Christina Rosca were named first team All SEC and freshman Georgia Drummy was named second team All SEC and named to the all Freshman team. We’ve got a great team and have a shot to go plenty of distance in the NCAA’s which we always do under Geoff McDonald. We are presently ranked 7th in the country..

The Men finished the season 34th in the country and Cameron Klinger was selected 2nd team All SEC. Cameron is ranked 87th in the country. We finished the season 15-11 and 4-8 in the SEC and lost to Kentucky in the second round of the SEC Tournament after winning in the opening round over Kentucky, 4-1.

So exciting stuff for both teams. Will let you know where our teams are headed. The women will most likely be hosting, while the men will probably have to travel.

Women’s Golf

Our No.7 Women’s Golf team has been selected to play in the Auburn Regional. There are 18 teams in 4 regional sites. The top 6 teams from each regional advance to the NCAA Championships at Blessings Golf Club in Fayetteville, Arkansas. The Auburn regional will commence next Monday, May 6th and continue through Thursday, May 9th. The NCAA Championships will take place May 17th-22nd. Abby Carlson is ranked 2lst in the country and Austin Kim is 27th. In our regional, No.2 Duke is competing, No.9 Florida State, No.13 Auburn, No. 17 Virginia No. 26 Furman, No. 29 Clemson and No. 36 Alabama amongst the 18 team field.