****Please disregard anything about the game taking place tonight. It’s tomorrow at 1:07 PM CT on ESPN****
After a very well played 3-1 victory over Louisville Sunday in which our stellar sophomore third baseman Austin Martin hit two homers, which gives him 4 in his last 2 games, he homered twice against Duke in game 3 of the Super Regional, and a terrific pitching performance by Drake Fellows and Tyler Brown, we square off with a familiar foe in our second hurdle in the College World Series. Our 55-11, No. 2 ranked Commodores square off with No.3 Mississippi State (52-13), which is coming off a wild 5-4 victory over Auburn on Sunday Night. State was down to their last 3 outs in the bottom of the 9th with a 4-1 deficit, but scored 4 times and got a gift from Auburn third baseman Edouard Julien who committed a throwing error on what would have been the third out, and allowed the Bulldogs to come all the way back and capture the game.
Due to inclement weather today the game will be broadcast by ESPN tomorrow, Wednesday, at 1:07 PM CT. Auburn and Louisville will finish up their game which is in the top of the 5th with Louisville leading 4-1, tonight at 9 CT on ESPN. Karl Ravech, Eduardo Pe’rez and KP, Kyle Peterson, on the call. Kris Budden will report from the field. Kyle is a top 4 commentator in sports along with Jay Bilas in college basketball, Herbie in college football, and Cris Collinsworth on NBC’s Sunday Night Football. Really like KP’s commentary. He’s spectacular. You will enjoy the game with Kyle’s commentary, particularly if we come out on top
Kumar Rocker, coming off a no hit, 2 walk 19 strikeout performance in one of the most historic performances in college baseball history, will be on the hill for us. Kumar has been spectacular lately, not only the Duke game, but the entire last 2 months of the season. He is 10-5 with a 3.50 ERA, with just 18 walks and 97 K’s. There is a different kind of pressure in Omaha. Michigan’s pitcher, junior Tommy Henry, who pitched a complete game, 3 hit shutout with 0 walks and 10 K’s in a 2-0 Wolverines’ victory over Florida State, said he was extremely nervous when he took the mound. There will be adrenaline running in Kumar and some nerves, but he’s such a competitor and a big game pitcher already. I trust him tomorrow. Kumar will face senior Peyton Plumlee, a right hander, who is 7-4 with a 3.67 ERA, with 27 walks and 63 K’s. Plumlee’s last outing was an 8-1 Super regional victory over Stanford in Starkville in which he pitched 6.2 innings, gave up 2 hits, 1 run, with 1 walk and 6 K’s.
But I believe our guys will be ready to respond.
Austin Martin is now hitting .411 with 10 homers and 45 Ribeyes. His slugging percentage is .641, second only to JJ Bleday’s .715, which are both spectacular numbers. Anything over a .500 slugging in the major leagues is considered outstanding, so what Austin and JJ have done is sensational.
Hopeful that Kumar can duplicate his effort from the Duke game, but if he runs into trouble, our middle relief needs to be good to get it to Tyler Brown in the 8th or the 9th. Jake Eder, Zach King, Ethan Smith, Hugh Fisher, A.J. Franklin, Jackson Gillis and Chance Huff need to all be ready. But if Kumar can give us another spectacular performance, that would be the best of all worlds.
Will keep you informed on this tremendously important game tomorrow.
Tyler pitched terrifically last night in leading his San Francisco Giants to a 3-2 victory over the 48-25 Los Angeles Dodgers at Chavez Ravine in LA. Against one of the top lineups in major league baseball, Tyler pitched 6, gave up only 3 hits, 1 run with 5 walks and 7 K’s. Would like to see those base on balls number go down, but he battled and pitched a brilliant game. I watched the first 2 innings before hitting the sack, and Tyler was hitting 95-96 with his fastball, his breaking ball was superb, and his changeup was solid. Just an awesome performance from Tyler, a key piece in our 2014 national championship team. It’s been a struggle for Tyler in the big leagues and he’s gone down to triple A quite a bit due to control issues. But he’s battled and last night’s performance against a stellar lineup can only give him a ton of confidence heading into his next start Saturday at Arizona. Tyler was a first round draft pick by the Toronto Blue Jays coming out of high school in Massachusetts, but turned down their contract offer to come to Nashville. That’s character and maturity. Tyler’s a total class act and I’m really pulling for him to keep excelling. Last night had to be a big boost to his confidence. He’s got tremendous talent, so it’s just continue to tap into that talent going forward. Giants manager Bruce Bochy, who’s won 3 world series in 2010, 2012 and 2014 and is retiring after this season, said Tyler will keep getting better and better. He said this last night after the game. Bochy believes in him. The Giants moved to 31-39, and they are getting better and better. They’ll probably need to get the first or second wild card because the Dodgers are going to be close to impossible to catch.
Mike Yastrzemski is making his mark for the SF Giants as well. Yaz has been playing pretty regularly in left field and is hitting .250 with 2 homers and 7 RBIs. Mike made a spectacular, game saving catch in the bottom of the 9th Saturday Night to preserve an 8-7 Giants victory over the NL Central leading Milwaukee Brewers (40-32). Yaz has always been an exceptional player with great defensive skills, good hitting and super speed, so it’s awesome to see the 28 year old catch on with the Giants.
Mike certainly has great talent in his genes. His grandfather, Carl Yastrzemski, was a 1989 Hall of Fame inductee after having a spectacular career with the Boston Red Sox from 1961-83. Grandfather Yaz was one of the greatest players of all time. The great Yaz hit ,.285 for his career with 452 homers and 1,844 RBIs. He was an 18 time All Star, AL MVP in 1967, Triple Crown winner in 1967, leading the majors in homers, RBIs and batting average, which is almost impossible to do, he was a 7 time Gold Glove left fielder and was a 3 time AL batting champion in 1963, ‘67 and ‘68. One of the greatest memories from my youth was watching the 1975 World Series when Yaz’s Red Sox played the great Big Red Machine Cincinnati Reds. That may have been the greatest collection of players to ever play in a World Series. In game 4, a phenomenal game, with Pete Rose, Joe Morgan, Johnny Bench and the awesome Reds holding a 2-1 lead in the series, the 2 teams put on an all time classic game at Fenway. It went into extra innings. My father made me go to bed since it was a school night. But I turned on my clock radio and listened to the extra innings. The great catcher for the BoSox, Carlton Fisk, with the score tied in the bottom of the 11th, hit a deep drive to left field but it was uncertain whether the ball would stay fair. Fisk was throwing his arms to the right begging the ball to stay fair. It did and the Red Sox won one of the most spectacular games in World Series history. The great Reds team went on to win it in 6 games, but it was such a memorable game with supreme effort from so may players. I’ll never forget it.
Yaz was a legend. Hoping Mike continues that historic legacy in his big league career.
Dansby Swanson is playing stellar shortstop for a phenomenal Atlanta Braves baseball team. Dans and the Braves took 2 out of 3 from the Phillies this past weekend at SunTrust Park, defeating Bryce Harper and the Phils, 15-1 on Sunday. Last night, the red hot Braves defeated the Mets 12-3. Dans is now hitting .261, so I’d like to see that average continue to climb and Dans to become a .300 hitter going forward. But he’s an incredibly hard worker and such a high character guy, and will do everything possible to do that. He’s been a stellar player for the Braves this season. Freddie Freeman (.313), Ronald Acuna Jr. (.301) and second baseman Ozzie Alhies (.286) are all on fire. Freddie, at 29, is the leader for this talented, youthful team that’s sprinkled in with some talented veterans. Freddie’s a surefire All Star this year. Freddie has hit 19 homers and driven in 52 runs. He’s been spectacular. Albies was 3 for 4 last night with a homer and 4 RBIs. He has 11 homers on the season. Acuna Jr. launched his 17th homer of the season last night and has driven in 49. And the great veteran Brian McCann has been on fire lately as well. Brian is hitting .303 He hit his 7th homer of the season and his 28th and 29th RBIs. McCann has been splitting catching duties with Tyler Flowers and they are a potent combination as Flowers is having a solid year as well. The 35 year old McCann left the Braves for a while but he’s back where he belongs and says this Braves team reminds him of the 2017 World Champion Houston Astros team that he was on. He thinks this team is that good and getting better and better. The Braves are now 43-30 and lead the NL East by 3 games over the Phillies (39-37). If the pitching can hold up, the Braves can find themselves playing very deeply into October. Certainly a World Series contender. Glad Dans is part of this special team.
Bryan has pretty much become the every day left fielder for the Pittsburgh Pirates because he is performing spectacularly well. Bryan is hitting .361 with 5 homers and 23 RBIs. He also has 15 doubles and 2 triples. Bryan will be a key piece for the Pirates going forward as they try to rebuild their team into a contender for the World Series in the future. The Pirates aren’t bad at 32-39. They’re only 7 1/2 games back of the Brewers in the NL Central with a ton of baseball left. Bryan is a pivotal player for them. Bryan was another member of our 2014 national championship team.
Sonny Gray had an excellent outing for the Cincinnati Reds Sunday in an 11-3 victory over the Texas Rangers. Sonny pitched 5, gave up 5 hits, 3 runs, with 1 walk and 8 K’s. The Rangers are a good hitting team and unfortunately teed off on David Price last Thursday Night, so that was good stuff from Sonny. Sonny is now 3-5 with a 3.77 ERA with 27 walks and 79 K’s. Like Tyler, if Sonny can keep his control under control, he’s a fantastic pitcher. He’s got former Vanderbilt pitching coach Derek Johnson as his pitching coach for the Reds, so that’s awesome for Sonny. Johnson coached Sonny at Vanderbilt. Just really happy for Sonny that he’s out of the media zoo in New York and somewhere where he can be himself and be the pitcher he’s capable of being. He’s doing well for the 32-38 Reds, which are much improved from last season.
Curt is hitting .288 for the Reds with 4 homers and 18 RBIs in a backup catching role. Curt is doing very well every time his number is called and the guy ahead of him is hitting barely above .200 so maybe Curt will keep getting more opportunities. Curt is an excellent defensive catcher as well.
Tony is starting at second base for the Astros and hitting .226 with 5 homers and 14 RBIs. Jose Altuve is supposed to come off the injured list tomorrow, so Altuve will probably get the start Wednesday. But Tony is a valuable player to the Astros and I know manager A.J, Hinch will use him quite often in the outfield and when Altuve needs a break. Tony is a superb defensive player. The Astros are playing exceptional baseball once again despite a slew of injuries to position players. They are 48-25 and lead the AL West by 8 1/2 games.
Mike got another victory on Saturday, 4-3 decision over the Reds in Cincinnati. Mike pitched 6.1 innings, gave up 4 hits, 3 runs, with 4 walks and 6 K’s. He gave up a couple of homers, so he needs to be a little more accurate next time and keep it in the park, but he’s having a super year. Mike is 6-4 with a 2.63 ERA with 32 walks and 99 strikeouts. The Rangers may be the surprise team in the Major Leagues this year as they are 38-33 and, as of right now, are the second wild card team in the American League. They’re doing an excellent job out there in Arlington.
David had a rough outing against the Rangers last Thursday. In just 1.1 innings, he gave up 5 hits and 6 earned runs. Not a David Price like performance because he’s been exceptional for the Red Sox this season. David is 4-2 with a 3.52 ERA and a 1.13 WHIP (walks plus hits per inning, good number). He’s walked only 15 and struck out 71. He is so accurate. The Red Sox are heating up now at 40-34 as they’ve won 6 in a row, They are just 5 1/2 games back of the Yankees in the AL East. and David is on the mound tonight @ the Minnesota Twins, which has the best record in baseball at 47-24. So big start for Dave tonight.
Now last but certainly not least, far from it, Walker Buehler has been phenomenal this season for the LA Dodgers. Walker is 7-1 with a 3.06 ERA and a mind blowing 0.92 WHIP,. That WHIP is hat’s Hall of Fame stuff. Walker has walked only 13 and struck out 84. He’s hitting 97, 98, 99 regularly this season. His arm is powerful and he’s a phenomenal competitor. In Walk’s last outing versus the Cubs, a tough 2-1 loss, Walker pitched 7, gave up only 2 hits with 0 walks and 6 K’s. Dodgers closer Kenley Jansen lost it in the top of the 9th giving up 2 runs. So Walker is in extremely good shape. He could be a starter for the National League in the All Star game. He’s got my vote. He’s tremendous.
Next pitching assignments
David Price tonight @ the Twins, 7:10 CT
Mike Minor, Thursday versus the Cleveland Indians @ home, 1:05 PM CT
Walker Buehler, Thursday Night 9:10 CT versus Madison Bumgarner and the San Francisco Giants. Should be a classic at Dodger Stadium.
Sonny Gray Friday 7:10 PM CT @Milwaukee
Tyler Beede Saturday @Arizona, 9 PM CT ESPN+
****Louisville and Auburn are in a weather delay that’s been going on for 2 hours or so it seems like with Louisville leading 4-1 in the top of the 5th. A lot of game left there, so hopeful our game will start tonight close to time and we can play ball.****
Will keep you informed on any developments for our baseball team entering the 1:07 PM CT first pitch versus Mississippi State. Once again, ESPN will televise and it can be seen on the ESPN App as well on your phone or ipad or the Watch ESPN website on the computer.
Football commits for 2020 and our 2019 team under DMase. are coming tomorrow as well Coach Mason, now in his 6th season, is doing stellar work on the recruiting trail for 2020 and I like the transfers and the freshmen he’s brought in to play for us this coming season along with 3 returning superstar upperclassmen in tailback Ke’Shawn Vaughn, wide receiver Kalija Lipscomb and tight end Jared Pinkney. Need to get exceptional play from Deuce Wallace or Riley Neal, whoever steps up in August at quarterback. If we can get excellent play from one or both of them, we’re loaded offensively, and I’m excited about what we have on defense. Will have more on Coach Mason and the football program tomorrow.
Also, a Stack/men’s basketball report. Stack has us prepped for a very competitive year in 2019-20. Our goal is to always go to the NCAA Tournament and excel there, and that won’t change next year with some good solid veterans and exciting new players coming into the program. Stack is also burning up the recruiting trail for 2020 with a lot of big name recruits interested in our program. Will let you know about Stack and the bball team tomorrow as well.