Our Vanderbilt baseball team (31-25) travels to Clemson once again to square off with the St. John's Red Storm (39-15) in the first game of the Clemson Regional, Friday. First pitch is at 11 AM CT and will be televised by the SEC Network. We are the No.2 seed in the Regional and St. John's is No.3. It's a rematch of last year's first game of the Clemson Regional in which we defeated the Red Storm, 13-4.
No.1 seeded Clemson (45-14) will face 4 seeded Morehead State (37-24). That game will commence at 5 PM CT and will be broadcast by ESPN3.
We came away victorious last year out of the Clemson Regional defeating St. John's and Clemson 2 out of 3 games to move on to our 6th super regional in 8 years. It would be outstanding to duplicate that effort and go even further. We have now made 13 straight regionals, a current SEC record.
Right hander Drake Fellows will take the hill for us. Drake is 6-4 with a 3.81 ERA. Drake was strong in his last outing, going 7.1 innings versus Kentucky, giving up just 1 run with 0 walks and 6 K's in a Commodores' 6-1 victory on Thursday, May 17th. We went on to sweep Kentucky in the last regular season series of the year. We finished the SEC season at 16-15, falling to Texas A&M, 3-1, in the elimination game of the SEC Tournament.
The Red Storm will throw right hander Sean Mooney, who had a stellar year at 11-2 with a 2.52 ERA. We hit Mooney hard in the first game of the regional last year, pounding out 10 hits, and 7 runs. But it's a new year, and he and his team are dangerous. St. John's finished 15-3 in the Big East and captured the Big East regular season title and the conference tournament. So we need to be ready.
Our leading hitters are J.J. Bleday, who hit .374 this season though he missed 2 months with an oblique injury. J.J. is a difference maker both at the plate and in right field. Freshman Austin Martin, a member of the top rated class in 2017, hit .332 with a homer, 17 Ribeyes, and 21 steals in 29 attempts. Austin has been really outstanding this season playing numerous positions. He's extremely versatile and a hugely valuable player to this baseball team. His upside is unlimited if he keeps up his super work ethic. Our other super freshmen are designated hitter Philip Clarke, who hit .302 this season with 4 homers and 33 RBIs and left fielder Pat DeMarco, who hit .276 with 9 homers and 40 Ribbies. Shortstop Connor Kaiser has put together a terrific junior season, hitting .284 with 3 homers and 34 RBI's, and has only committed 1 error in 209 chances, part of 53 games, for a .995 fielding percentage. That's beyond excellent. As a team, we fielded at a .983 percentage. We were pretty darn good in the field. Another very valuable player for us this season was catcher Stephen Scott, who hit only .250, but cranked it up at the end of the season and ended up hitting 12 homers and drove in 36. He hit home runs in 6 of his last 7 regular season games.
St. John's is led in hitting by senior 3rd baseman John Valente, who batted .356 this season with 5 homers and 40 RBI's. Senior center fielder Jamie Galazin hit .327 with 6 homers and 42 Ribbies. Senior first baseman Chris Stampfi hit .333 with 6 homers and 32 Ribeyes. As you can tell, this team has experience and probably learned a lot from last year's regional experience, so we need to be ready.
We ended the season on a tough note in the SEC Tournament, we just didn't hit it that day with runners in scoring position though freshman Tyler Brown gave us a good starting outing. Need the bats to be ready, need a good performance by Drake and the bullpen, if needed, and need to field like we normally do. Riveting time of the year in college baseball. Can't wait to see our guys compete. Corbs will have'em ready.
Golf team falls just short in the NCAA Championships
After a stellar regular season, our golf team fell in the stroke play of the NCAA Tournament at Karsten Creek Golf Club in Stillwater, OK, by one shot in the stroke play. We finished +18 with a tough +16 round on the fourth and final day to finish a shot out of the match play. A&M beat us by a shot to secure the eighth and final spot in the match play. Oklahoma State won the national championship yesterday with a 5-0 championship match victory over Alabama.
It was tough for our talented team. It was tough as a Vanderbilt fan to see us not make it. But I believe in Coach Scott Limbaugh and what he's doing and our future. Coach Limbaugh said it best after the fourth round to vucommodores.com.
This was a very tough day for our guys and certainly not the way we wanted the season to end. I am so proud of how the guys fought until the very end, but, unfortunately, today wasn't quite enough four our season to continue. We didn't play to the standard we needed to play to today and that's not really one person's fault. But we have to own it. I know our boys are hurting right now and so am I. I love this team and wanted them to be able to play more golf because I truly believe they are special. Theo (Humphrey, senior) gave his heart and soul to this program for four years and he made me a better coach and a better man. I cannot say enough to all our fans and supporters that continue to help us and support us. Vanderbilt golf has a heart and soul and right now it is hurting, but we will find a way to move forward and continue to get better.
Thanks, Coach, for all you do. We will definitely be back in the hunt next season with a chance to go deep and even win it all. Believe in Coach Limbaugh completely and what he's doing.
David Price, Dansby Swanson, Walker Buehler, Sonny Gray, Mike Minor, Pedro Alvarez, Ryan Flaherty
All the guys are playing hard as all of our athletes do, and David is really starting to pick it up while Walker is wheeling and dealing, Mike just got a victory last Friday, Dans is firmly entrenched at shortstop for the Braves, Ryan is coming off the bench, Pedro is getting some action, and Sonny had a good outing against the Royals in his start prior to his last outing, but still working to get in the zone, which he can do.
David and the Red Sox defeated Toronto on Memorial Day, 8-3. David battled hard in 5 innings, giving up 4 hits, 2 earned with 4 walks and 4 strikeouts. He hit 93-94 pretty consistently and hit 95 at least once. His cutter was working well at 88-90, and his changeup was pretty effective at 85. It wasn't his best game, but he really fought hard out there. David moved to 5-4 with a 4.04 ERA. I thought he pitched pretty well overall and actually got nailed in the chest with a line drive in the first inning that could have very well affected his control. But he still pitched his heart out like he always does and did well overall.
David is in a huge matchup with Justin Verlander this Saturday at Houston. Verlander is part of that exceptional Astros' starting rotation. Verlander is really pitching exceedingly well at 7-2 with a 1.11 ERA. But David really gets up for big games. The game starts at 6:15 PM CT on FOX Saturday.
Walker has been awesome. He just went 7 against the Padres on Sunday, and gave up 4 hits, 1 run, with 0 walks and 8 K's in a Dodgers 6-1 victory over the Padres at Chavez Ravine. Walker was hitting 95-96 consistently, and hit 97 more than once, his location was superb, and his curve and change ups were very effective. Walker threw 93 pitches with 66 of them strikes against only 27 balls, almost a 3:1 ratio which is spectacular. He threw 20 of 25 first pitches for strikes. He's something else. Walker is now 3-1 with a 2.20 ERA and an exceptional 0.90 WHIP (walks plus hits given up per inning). Anything under 1.00 is sensational. Walker is really doin some serious work. He'll face the Colorado Rockies Saturday Night at 6:15.
Mike got the victory last Friday against the KC Royals going 6, giving up 7 hits, 4 runs with 1 walk and 4 K's. Mike moved to 4-3 with a 5.63 ERA. He's hitting 93-94 with his fastball and his curve and off speed stuff are clicking pretty well. Mike faces the Mariners tonight in Seattle at 9:10.
Sonny has been fighting himself a little bit. He had a tough outing against the LA Angels last week and is 3-4 with a 5.98 ERA. But he had a super outing against the Royals the start before that, so still believe Sonny can excel this season. Sonny is on the hill tonight vs. the Orioles at Camden Yards at 6:05. Hoping the man can get it cookin again. He certainly has all the stuff to get it done.
Dansby is hitting .260 for a very good Atlanta Braves team. He's playing excellent shortstop and was 2 for 3 with a double 2 nights ago against the Mets. I like where Dans is. Would like to see him get his average up, but he looks very comfortable as a starting shortstop for the Atlanta Braves. The Braves are presently at 32-23 and a 1/2 game back of the Nationals. The Nationals come into SunTrust Stadium tonight for a huge 4 game weekend set. Ryan Flaherty is getting some spot playing time for the Braves and pinch hitting. They've got another talented player in Johan Camargo, but he's only hitting .231, so maybe Brian Snitker can try to change it up a little bit and start Ryan. Hoping he'll do that possibly tonight. Ryan just needs consistent reps and he'll hit and he always fields well.
Pedro, like Ryan, is getting spot starts at DH. Don't understand this either. If manager Buck Showalter could realize how a hitter like Pedro needs consistent at bats and then he'll really produce, then maybe he'll put him in and the Orioles will play better than their 17-39 record, which is a .304 winning percentage. Showalter needs to change something up. Chris Davis is once again hitting .156 and striking out like a American League pitcher playing at a National League team. He's not too swift and his defense is subpar, so I would think Showalter could figure that out and give El Toro a shot at first. Not sure why not. I'm very hopeful Pedro will start getting opportunities. He can really produce if given the chance.