We had another very good weekend of baseball taking 2 of 3 games from the Missouri Tigers to move to 41-10 overall and 20-7 in the SEC. We now hold a 1 game lead over Arkansas (19-8) in the conference. Georgia and Mississippi State are next at 18-9. Just have to keep playing well starting tonight at 6:30 CT vs Middle Tennessee at the Hawk. The game will be broadcast by SEC Network+. We then head to Kentucky for a weekend series beginning Thursday Night. Thursday’s game is at 5:30 PM, Friday’s game is at 5:30 as well and Saturday’s finale will take place at 1 PM. All those times are central and all 3 games can be seen on the SEC Network+ site on the ESPN app.
Mason Hickman will be our starter tonight. Mason pitched well against No.5 Louisville last Tuesday Night and is now 6-0 with a 2.15 ERA with 13 walks and 79 strikeouts. That’ terrific. We are ranked No.2 in the country by D1 Baseball, the College Baseball Sports Writers Association and Collegiate Baseball News. We are No.1 in the RPI, Ratings Percentage Index, so there is a chance we can be the No.1 overall seed in the NCAA Tournament if we take care of business this week and in the SEC Tournament and No.1 UCLA stumbles in the coming weeks. Still, it’s been a phenomenal season, but a lot of work ahead of us.
Friday, it was about Drake Fellows, our standout Friday Night starter. Drake was named Co-SEC player of the week for his performance in a 5-2 victory. Drake went 7, gave up 4 hits, 2 runs with only 1 earned, with 2 walks and 11 K’s. Drake moved to 10-0 and now has a 4.08 ERA. He had 1 bad outing a few weeks ago and that catapulted his ERA. But he’s been superb and we need him to keep performing at this elite level. Hugh Fisher and Tyler Brown pitched perfect 8th and 9th innings respectively. Tyler earned his 12th save. Harrison Ray had another big hit, a 2 run double in the right central field gap in the 3rd. Harrison is playing stellar ball right now. The phenomenal Austin Martin was 3 for 5 and Philip Clarke was 2 for 4 with an RBI single. Drake committed the only error of the night.
Saturday we took a 5-2 L to snap our 13 game winning streak. You just expect this team to win every time out and when they don’t it’s almost shocking. But Corbs and his team understand every game matters. Kumar pitched pretty well actually. He went 6, gave up 3 runs, with only 2 earned, with a walk and 4 K’s. I don’t see that as any problem for Kumar. He was solid, he’s a confident pitcher and he’s very trustworthy. Our defense wasn’t that stellar behind him.
On Sunday, we had 8 hits and 7 runs and Rabes went 6, gave up 6 hits , 1 run with 3 walks and 5 K’s. I know Rabes wants to cut down on the walks, but even when he walks a guy he works the corners and the bottom of the plate so much, that sometimes he doesn’t get the calls when they look like strikes. He’s pitching very well though. Hugh Fisher came in and closed out the last 3 innings giving up a hit, a run with 0 walks and 8 K’s. Hugh has dynamite stuff with a fastball hitting 95-96, and some nice offspeed stuff. AMart was once again spectacular, going 3 for 4 which included a key 2 run double. Pat DeMarco had a big game going 2 for 4 with his 4th homer o of the season over the Green Monster in left along with 3 Ribeyes. We played solid defense as well.
Rabes is now 9-1 with a 2.42 ERA. He has walked 36 and struck out 67. Kumar is 6-5 with a 4.22 ERA with 15 walks and 62 K’s. We’ve got a solid 4 man group including Hickman. Our team ERA is now 3.80, good for 6th in the SEC. Would like to see us even develop more bullpen depth with guys like Chance Huff, Jackson Gillis and Jake Eder getting more in the mix. I know Corbs has to trust’em before he can put them in, but would just like to see if these guys can perform to help out our starters, and our main bullpen guys, Fisher, Ethan Smith, A.J. Franklin and Tyler.
Corbs described our defense as solid not spectacular before the Louisville game. I would agree with that assessment, though I have seen us start making some stellar plays. Austin has been phenomenal at third the last couple of weeks. Harrison Ray had a super week at 2nd, particularly on the weekend against Missouri. Ethan Paul is solid at short. Maybe not with the range of Connor Kaiser, but Ethan just converted from second base, so he’s done an excellent job manning the shortstop position. Julian Infante is a very solid first baseman. Would like to see Julian hit the ball better, but he’s very good at first. The outfield of Stephen Scott, DeMarco and JJ Bleday is very solid. JJ has a cannon in right and Pat and Stephen have solid arms in center and left respectively, and all 3 have pretty good speed. Philip Clarke and Ty Duvall are very competent behind the plate. We’re still fielding at a .981 clip, which leads the conference and is 8th in the country. Corbs was accurate before the Louisville game, but we keep improving and could be an elite defensive team going forward as we keep improving and getting reps under our belts.
So, as usual, super stuff coming out of our baseball team. We’ve got a chance to be elite. There’s plenty left to accomplish though and many challenges ahead. But there’s a lot to like about this baseball team.
Men’s Golf at the Athens Regional
Our men’s golf team is currently in 3rd place at the University of Georgia course in Athens, GA in day 2. No. 16 (national rank) Georgia leads at -7, No. 9 Duke is second at -2 and our No.4 team is third at +3. We are +1 today. We are through holes 15-18. Will Gordon is -1 through 15, Patrick Martin is +2 through 17, John Augenstein is even through 15 and Harrison Ott is even, but has birdied 3 holes on the backside. So we’re hanging tough. Nevada and Liberty are tied for 4th at +12. The top 5 teams advance to the NCAA Championships at Blessings Golf Club in Fayetteville, ARK. which begin Friday, May 24th-Wednesday, May 29th. I know Coach Limbaugh wants us to win this regional and we’ll need to finish strong today and have a really phenomenal 3rd round. Just got to finish up solidly today. Will definitely keep you posted on our men.
Women’s Tennis head to Elite 8
The great Geoff McDonald has led his Vanderbilt Women’s Tennis team to another Elite Eight and the NCAA Championships in Orlando, Florida. Our No.8 women defeated No.18 Texas A&M 4-0 to advance to Friday’s round of 8 where we’ll play No.1 Georgia at 4 PM CT. vucommodores.com will enable you to stream the match live. But what another great accomplishment for our women. Fernanda Contreras/Georgia Drummy and Christina Rosca/Amanda Meyer got our doubles point and then Christina and Emily Smith both won their singles matches and freshman Carolyn Campana clinched the match for us, 7-5, 6-4. Just a terrific effort by our women. We have played Georgia twice, falling to them 3-4 at the National Team Indoors in February, and in Athens to end the regular season, 1-4. But it’s a new match, and we’re on a roll, so I like our chances. Geoff McDonald’s teams are always ferocious competitors and always peak at the right time. Will keep you apprised of how our women fare. Feel good about our chances.
Women’s Golf begins NCAA play Friday
Our No.4 women’s golf team is one of 24 teams competing for the NCAA Championship beginning this Friday at Blessings Golf Club as well. There will be 54 holes of stroke play where the top 15 teams make it to an additional fourth round of stroke play and the the top 8 teams that emerge rom that group of 15 teams will compete for the national championship in match play. Coach Greg Allen was selected as SEC Coach of the year and junior Abbey Carlson and freshman Auston Kim were named to the All SEC team. Senior Courtney Zeng was a second team selection. Auston was also named to the SEC All-freshman team. Auston won the individual title last week at the Auburn Regional, which we won, shooting a score of 6 under par. We’ve got a phenomenal team that has a shot to win it all. But Coach Allen, like Corbs, Scott Limbaugh, and Geoff, takes it a round at a time. Need to start off well on Friday. Will also keep you posted on how our awesome women are doing.
*** Update on Men’s Golf***
We are now at +3 on holes 17-18. Georgia still leads at -4 but coming back a little. Duke is at -1. We are third. If we can finish strong we’re in the hunt tomorrow.
****Men’s Golf finishes in great position****
We finished +2 overall. John Augenstein and Patrick Martin both birdied 17. Georgia is finished @ -4, Duke is second at -3, then we’re third. Liberty is 4th at +13 and Tennessee and Memphis are tied for 5th at +16. John A shot a 2 under 69, Will Gordon shot a 1 under 70, Harrison Ott shot even par 71, and Patrick shot 2 over 73. Harrison birdied 11, 16 and 17. Will was solid all day with his birdie on 11 and no bogeys. John’s birdies were on 3, 10 and 17, and Patrick battled hard. The whole team battled hard. I know Scott is proud of the effort. We’re only 6 strokes back of Georgia and 5 back of Duke, so if we can have a big day tomorrow, we can win this thing. Will keep you apprised throughout the day tomorrow. Great stuff from the team.