Patrick Raby was electric yesterday at Sewell Thomas Stadium in Tuscaloosa and JJ Bleday just keeps hitting bombs and playing like the best player in the country.
The No.5 Commodores rode those 2 studs along with some other contributors to a 2-0 victory over the Crimson Tide and a sweep of the series. We moved to 31-9 overall and 12-6 in the SEC, a half game back of Georgia (13-5) in the SEC East. Alabama fell to 24-17 and 4-14. Alabama may not have a stellar record, but they’re a growing, developing team and got some solid pitching yesterday, but we did just enough at the plate to support an outstanding performance from Rabes, Hugh Fisher and closer Tyler Brown who were all 3 spectacular.
Rabes went 6, gave up only 2 hits, 0 runs, with 4 walks and 8 K’s. I know he wants to get the walks number down, but he was around the plate and the home plate umpire was calling it tight, so the 4 walks could have been 1 walk. Really liked what I saw out of our senior leader of the staff. Rabes moved to 6-1 on the season with a 2.94 ERA. He was hitting 93 with his fastball, and his changeup and curve were dynamite. Rabes has gained some more velocity on his fastball. Shows how hard he works on his craft. Hugh Fisher came in for the 7th and hit a batter, but struck out 2 with his 95-97 MPH fastball and performed well. Tyler Brown closed it out in another stellar performance going 2 innings giving up just 1 hit, 0 runs with 0 walks and 1 K. Tyler earned his 9th save of the season.
And the awesome Bleday did it again at the plate going deep to left field for his 20th homer of the season, tied with Tulane’s Kody Hoase for the national lead. JJ has 53 Ribeyes as well. Philip Clarke drove in the other run with an RBI single that scored Ethan Paul who had doubled right before Philip. Philip was 2 for 3 with the RBI single and a double and Stephen Scott was 2 for 2.
Austin Martin didn’t get a hit yesterday, but is still hitting .400. JJ is hitting .363, Ethan is hitting .348 with 5 homers and 36 Ribbies along with 14 doubles, Stephen is hitting .313, with 4 homers, 30 RBIs and a team leading 15 doubles. Philip has been on a tear and is now hitting .307 with 6 homers and 47 Ribbies. Pat DeMarco is back in center and it’s awesome to have him back from injury. Pat’s average has climbed to .247 and he’s been hitting well the past 2 days after being out for a month with injury. Harrison Ray is hitting .271 and gives us quality performances at the plate and at second base. We committed 1 error yesterday, Austin committed it on a tough chopper to third, but we’re still fielding at a .982 clip which is tied for tops in the conference with State and 2nd nationally along with MS State.
Our average as a team is .311. Our team ERA is 3.70, pretty solid and getting better after a strong weekend of pitching. If we can do all three of those things like we did this weekend, we’ve got a shot to go some serious distance in late May and June.
We have no mid week game, and will face Auburn this weekend starting Thursday Night at the Hawk. We open at 6:30 PM CT on Thursday on ESPNU. Drake will be on the hill. Friday, our game is at 7 PM CT on the SEC Network with the surging Kumar Rocker taking the mound. Saturday’s finale will be a matinee at 1 Pm with Rabes on the hill. SEC Network+ will broadcast. I’ll have the Auburn hurlers later in the week.
So great stuff from our baseball team. Corbs is a day to day guy and all he cares about right now is having a good day of practice on Tuesday as I expect the team to be off today. Another huge test this weekend against No.25 Auburn. Like where the team is trending though.
Dave pitched a heckuva game yesterday. He went only 5 throwing 100 pitches, 64 for strikes against 36 balls, but allowed 5 hits with 2 earned, 2 walks and a season high 10 K’s. The Red Sox ended up winning in the 11th over the Tampa Bay Rays, 4-3, so David didn’t get the victory. He is now 1-1 with a 3.75 ERA and a 1.04 WHIP, walks and hits per inning, which is outstanding. Anything under 1.05 is exceptional. David has been a stopper for the Sox, which have been struggling but just swept the AL East leading Rays at Tampa, to move to 9-13, 5 back of the 14-8 Rays. David pitches again at Fenway on Friday versus the very good Charlie Morton and the Rays. Red Sox look like they could be heating up. They need to.
Mike pitched a classic last Tuesday at Globe Life Park in Arlington for the Texas Rangers. Mike pitched a complete game shutout going the distance, giving up just 3 hits, 0 runs, with 2 walks and 7 K’s. Mike is hitting 95 with his fastball this year and his changeup, cutter and curve are electric. Mike is now 2-1 on the season with a 2.60 ERA and an 0.94 WHIP, which is unreal good. Love where MIke is right now. The Rangers are playing good ball at 12-8, 1 1/2 games behind AL West leading Seattle which is at 16-8. The Astros are at 13-8, so good stuff from Mike and the Rangers.
Sonny is pitching very well for the Reds, he’s had a resurgence in Cincinnati. Walker has been Walker for the Dodgers which is superb as always. They pitched against each other last Wednesday with Walker collecting the victory, 3-2, but both pitched very well. Dans hitting .258, and had his average up over .300, so would like to see that get back up, but he’s playing solid as usual for a very solid Braves team that is 11-10 after taking 2 of 3 from Cleveland over the weekend. Bryan Reynolds was 3 for 4 for the Pittsburgh Pirates yesterday playing center field. Bryan could have had the game tying RBI as he doubled with a man on first, but the runner was thrown out at home. Bryan looking like he’s going to stick with the Pirates. Tony Kemp and Curt Casali still playing key roles on the Astros and Reds respectively. Will have more on our MLB guys later in the week.
I’m starting to really like this out of the box hire by AD Malcolm Turner. Stack was very impressive in his interview with Joe Fisher. I like that he talks about toughness and defense and playing uptempo. He played at North Carolina under Dean Smith, so you know Jerry Stackhouse can coach offense as well. Stack has named 3 assistants and he’s kept 6’9” 4 star power forward Dylan Disu, which is huge. Now if he can just get Scotty Pippen JR to stick with us and keep Matt Ryan and Yanni Wetzell on the team we can be a pretty solid team next year. Like what we have in Stack. He’s going to do an excellent job.
Joejuan is getting ready for the draft on Thursday and Friday. ESPN NFL draft experts Mel Kiper Jr. and Todd McShay have Joejuan going in the third round. Kiper has him going to the Carolina Panthers. Would love to see the man even go higher. He had an awesome career at VU and want him to excel on the next level and also hope he can finish out his degree at VU in the 2020 offseason. Justin Skule, Jordan Griffin, Bruno Reagan, Josh Smith and LeDarius Wiley are some others who could be drafted and at least be free agents with shots to make their respective teams. Will keep you posted.
Our men’s golf team will be competing in the SEC Championship in Sea Island, GA beginning Wednesday. There will be 3 rounds of stroke play followed by 2 days of match play. The top 8 teams out of 14 will qualify for the match play out of the stroke play. Scott Limbaugh’s team is ranked No.4 by Golfstat and looks to add another SEC title to their resume. We won it 2 years ago. Then we’ll prepare for the NCAA’s. Will Gordon, Patrick Martin, John Augenstein and the guys are a formidable unit, so I expect another stellar performance out of our team this week and beyond that. I’ll keep you updated on our men.
Geoff McDonald’s team fell to South Carolina on Saturday in the semifinals of the SEC Tournament. We’re ranked in the top 10 in the country and start NCAA Regional play Friday, May 3rd. We’ll more than likely host the first 2 rounds. We’ve got a solid team. Would really like to see Fernanda Contreras and the team continue the stellar tradition of our program under the guidance of the great McDonald.
I’ll have more stuff coming up later this week and next including a look at our 2020 football commits, there are 3 of them, high 3 star quarterback Ken Seals, solid 3 star receiver Logan Kyle and solid 3 star O lineman Bradley Ashmore Watched tape on all 3 and really liked what I saw. Much more to come on football. I need to go over the 2019 class which is a solid group. And general thoughts on the team. Thanks.