Vanderbilt baseball took a twinbill from Auburn on Thursday, 5-2 and 9-3. VU moved to 17-12 in the SEC and 40-15 overall. We play the third game of the three game set today at 2 PM CT/ 3 PM ET at the Hawk on SEC Network+. Jordan Sheffield got the victory to move to 8-4 overall and really fought hard in pitching six solid innings, giving up two runs on four hits, with four walks and four K's. Sheff didn't have his best stuff, but powered through it. He gave us an outstanding effort. Freshman Patrick Raby came in for the seventh and gave us three solid innings of relief allowing no runs on two hits with one walk and three K's. John Kilichowski pitched the nightcap and did well going five, giving up three runs on a three run homer, two walks and six K's. Good effort from Patrick and John. That was John's first start of the season as he had been battling some injuries earlier in the year, and Patrick got roughed up some at Florida. It was good to see them both pitch well because we'll need them down the road in the SEC tourney and beyond. Matt Ruppenthal and Ben Bowden finished the game off for John. Kyle Wright, who has pitched superbly lately, gets the start today.
We got some excellent hitting from our leaders, Bryan Reynolds and Jeren Kendall, who both belted out homers in the second game, as Reynolds hit his 12th, and Jeren hit his ninth. Reynolds' homer was a three run shot, and Jeren hit a clutch two run shot off a lefthander when the game was only 4-3 going into the bottom of the sixth. Both are super clutch players. Our freshmen are awesome. Ethan Paul had a couple of hits in the first game and stole home on a triple steal. It was beautiful. Our freshmen position players are so talented and can fly. The freshmen pitchers look like they'll be stellar as well. Alonzo Jones had a couple of hits in the twinbill and played some nice second base in both games in place of Tyler Campbell. Alonzo played well, so we'll see what Corbs does today at second. Tyler has been good though. Corbs may have been giving Tyler a break and giving Alonzo some playing time and experience because we'll need him in the postseason. Alonzo is outstanding. And the amazing Liam Sabino had two hits and an RBI as DH. Liam's going to be a spectacular hitter for us. He had three hits in his first start at DH against Morehead State on Tuesday in a victory. Connor Kaiser is giving us outstanding play at shortstop. He's been phenomenal. Will Toffey's bat looks like it's coming alive. Would love to get that bat going, because when it is, Will can help carry this team offensively. Big RBI guy. He plays stellar third, too. Ro is solid in left and starting to play good left field. He needs to get his bat going some, but he's certainly capable. We are currently tied with Ole Miss for sixth in the conference, meaning we are going to play on Tuesday at the Hoover Met in Birmingham. We would play Missouri if things ended today, but if we can beat Auburn we could move up to solo sixth. Looks like Missouri right now in the opener on Tuesday. But first things first. Need to beat Auburn today and go from there. Like the way the team has come together this week, the hitting is excellent, and the pitching is almost where Corbs and pitching coach Scott Brown want it to be. A good game today would really help. Would love to see Kyle go deep in the game and finish us off at 18-12 and 41-15 overall in the regular season.
David Price has been stellar lately for the BoSox. Dave moved to 7-1 on the season, with an 11-1 win over Houston at home a week and a half ago as David struck out 12 Astros, and then, this past Wednesday night, DP got the W for the Sox at Kansas City in a 5-2 Sox victory. David went 7.1 innings, giving up five hits, two runs with one walk and 5 K's. He's been throwing it 93, 94, 95 MPH with his fastball in his past two starts, as Dustin Pedroia, the Red Sox second baseman, who is an awesome player and awesome teammate, showed David a video of his pitching from last year and this year before the Astros game. David's leg lift was too low and his glove in the wind up was too low. He started lifting the glove up to his shoulders and lifting his leg up to his waist and is now getting much more power on his fastball. His change up has been superb and his cutter's always been awesome and he has really developed his curve ball. The fastball is still his go-to, but he really likes the change up now, too, and the other two pitches are excellent. He looks like the David Price we've been used to seeing, and the Red Sox were expecting when they signed him. It's great to see David on a roll. Hopefully it'll continue. He pitches Tuesday night at home against the Rockies next.
Tony Kemp was called up to the Astros Tuesday, and started Wednesday's game in left field against the White Sox, and was two for four with a double and a single. The last place Astros need all the help they can get, and maybe Tony can provide a spark. He also had an assist throwing out Chicago White Sox right fielder Adam Eaton, who was trying to stretch a single to a double on Wednesday. It was a perfect one hop throw from left. Tony went hitless last night, but it's terrific to see Tony get a shot and be doing so well. Maybe this will continue and the Astros will start playing better baseball. They lost their opening game of a three game set to the first place Rangers last night, 2-1, so they need to get these next two to get to 6 back in the AL West. They've got their work cut out for them, but there is a lot of talent on a young team that almost knocked off the world champion KC Royals in the playoffs last year. A lot of people were expecting the Astros to be in the World Series and some picked them to win it. I was one of them. I have the Astros over the Dbacks. Something about the Cubs and their 1908 jinx and Joe Maddon and some of his goofiness kept me from picking the Cubs, though they are really lighting it up right now.
Pedro is playing some third base for the Orioles and doing a good job. He had an RBI double Thursday Night, but didn't play last night. Ryan Flaherty relieves Pedro late in games at third, and he's done well. Shortstop J.J. Hardy broke a bone in his foot, so he's out a while and third baseman Manny Machado has moved over to short giving Pedro and Ryan a lot of opportunities now. Both guys are key players on the first place Orioles, who lead the Bosox by one game in the AL East. The O's are 25-15 and the Sox are 25-17. Will be a good race. Curt Casali still playing well for the Rays. He platoons at catcher with another player, and he's having a good season. Curt needs to pick it up a little with the bat, but he's had good hitting games and plays extremely good defense behind the plate.
Sonny having a tough time of it right now. The Yankees hit him hard last night and he's been getting hit hard lately. I feel bad for him. But knowing how hard Sonny works, he will get this figured out. The A's have 11 players on the DL, which is more than anybody in baseball, so they're really going deep into their bench and calling up players from the minors, but they're still competitive. Sonny will get it together soon.
Women's tennis advances to Elite Eight
Geoff McDonald and his awesome defending national champion women's tennis team defeated Auburn on Thursday, 4-0, in the Sweet 16 at Tulsa, OK, to move to the Elite Eight and face Virginia today. The Wahoos beat No.3 North Carolina on Thursday. Sydney Campbell and Courtney Colton got a win in doubles as did Frances Altick and Astra Sharma, and Fernanda Contreras and Georgina Sellyn. In singles Georgina, Fernanda, and Courtney got W's and the super clutch Astra clinched the victory with her win at No.3. Sydney and Frances were in tough matches with very good Auburn players, but did not finish their third sets as our three through six players really helped get the job done. Virginia is very good. We beat them earlier this season, but they were missing some key players and we had some players out, so it was not a good representation of how today's match will go. We'll have to really be the best we can be to win today. Trust Geoff and the girls completely though. They are prime time performers. Major challenge today. The match starts at noon CT/ 1 PM ET today in Tulsa and will be shown on the vucommodores website. www.vucommodores,com. Huge if we can get this one today and make it to our second consecutive Final Four.
Men's golf with a superb performance at Regional at Legend's Club in Franklin, TN.
The men's golf team moves on to the NCAA Championships now as part of a 30 team field in Eugene, Oregon starting next Friday, 5-27, after finishing second at the Nashville regional shooting 34 under par. We finished second to Texas, which shot -45. Texas is No.2 in the country and we're No.9. Sophomore Theo Humphrey finished fourth overall shooting 70, 66, 69. Freshman Patrick Martin tied for 9th shooting 70, 71,67, freshman Will Gordon shot 72, 70, 66 to finish tied 9th with Patrick, junior Matthias Schwab shot 73, 70, 66 to finish tied 14th, and senior Carson Jacobs shot 73, 71, 72 to finish tied for 39th. We shot -20 on the final day of the tourney and charged up the leaderboard. It was a fantastic effort by Coach Scott Limbaugh and his team. Now onto Eugene where we'll face 29 other super teams. It will be very exciting. The job Coach Limbaugh has done with the golf team, like Geoff has done with our girls, has been nothing short of spectacular. Really pumped for the NCAA Championships. Golf Channel will televise. Will keep you posted on times. The Championships start next Friday, May 27th, at Eugene Country Club in Eugene, Oregon. Texas will be tough along with many other teams, so we'll really have to play our very best, but we obviously have it in us after the performance at the Legends Club in Franklin last week.
Derek and his 2016 Commodores football team will kick it off against Will Muschamp and the South Carolina Gamecocks on Thursday, Sept. 1st at 7 PM CT/8 PM ET at Vanderbilt Stadium on ESPN. Should be a heckuva game and one we really need to win. Would be a huge boost to the team to get this game. Really feel good about our team coming into 2016. There was a good interview with Coach Mason on ESPN.com where he told reporter Chris Low that we are finally ready to compete in the conference. The players are in place and our young and veteran coaching staff looks pumped and ready. I can't wait. Will talk to Coach Mason this summer and get his thoughts on the upcoming season. Looking forward to Kyle Shurmur in his second year under center. He could be an all time great at Vanderbilt before his career is over. Really like what Kyle can do this season at quarterback and with Ralph, Dallas, Josh and the backs, and C.J. back at wide receiver, to go along with Trent Sherfield and Latevius Rayford and DeAndre Woods back at tight end, and Andrew Jelks back at left tackle, I'm excited to see what Coach Ludwig can do with the offense. We should be electric. The defense under Coach Mason will be terrific. Love the leadership and stellar play of safety Oren Burks and linebacker Zach Cunningham as our leaders and Nigel Bowden being back at inside linebacker is huge. Zach and Nigel, if Nigel returns to form of three years ago, could be the best inside linebacking tandem in the SEC if not the country. We'll have a solid front led by Adam Butler and Nifae Lealao, and have an excellent back eight. Really excited to see the product Coach Mason puts on the field this season. I see 7-5 and a bowl game at a minimum and could be much better if we can stay healthy and play like we're capable of playing. We have a lot of stud players and very good coaching. Pumped for Sept. 1st at Vanderbilt Stadium. Just gotta focus on that right now.
Drew adds point guard transfer; Sehic transferring
Basketball coach Bryce Drew added Xavier point guard Larry Austin to the team this week. Larry is 6'2", 175. He will not be eligible this season per transfer rules, but will be eligible in 2017-18 for two years. Bryce and the staff are working hard to see if we can get a point guard late in this class. With Wade leaving, it looks like Riley and incoming freshman Payton Willis will handle the duties if we don't land another guy. Would love to see Riley at the two, that's where he's best, but he can certainly play point effectively and Payton had super numbers in high school. Samir Sehic is transferring out of the program. No reason given except that he was close to Kevin Stallings and assistant Adam Cohen. Rumors are that he might be going to Tulane, but that hasn't been confirmed. With Damian and Wade leaving for the NBA and Sehic transferring, it would be good if we could add a couple of guys late. We still have some outstanding players, and Luke and Djery Baptiste will be our guys in the middle with the super reliable Jeff Roberson adding some muscle underneath. Also, freshman Clevon Brown had excellent numbers in high school. With Matt Fischer Davis, Nolan Cressler, Riley, Joe Toye, Camron Justice, and Payton, we'll have some excellent talent. We may be more of a shooting, perimeter oriented team next season, but I have full confidence Coach Drew and his staff will have this team playing outstanding basketball next year. I definitely see us going to the tournament.
Will have more coming up in the next couple of days. Love to see our girls get it done today and baseball get a sweep and have some real momentum heading into the postseason.