Remarkable season by the Women's Tennis team, Baseball falls but sets sights towards NCAA's; Price, Gray Buehler shine, Minor pitches well

Our phenomenal women's tennis team came up two games short of capturing another national championship. We won the doubles point over No.15 Stanford with victories by Astra Sharma/Fern Contreras and Emma Kurtz/ Emily Smith, but Stanford captured the first 2 singles point as the great Summer Dvorak fell for the first time in 8 matches, 3-6, 2-6. Emma Kurtz lost her match, 3-6, 3-6. But the great Sharma came back convincingly and won her No.1 singles match, 7-6, 6-3 to even things up at 2-2. Stanford took a 3-2 lead with Christina Rosca falling, 4-6, 2-6. We were down 3-2 and had lost the first sets of our final 2 chances with Fernanda losing her first set and Amanda losing hers'. But Amanda came back and was victorious, 4-6, 6-4, 6-2 in a courageous effort, so it came down to Fern's match for the national championship. After falling, 4-6, in the first, Fern battled back and captured the second set 6-2. The third set was remarkable. Fern was down 4-5 and facing a match point at 40-40. When the game got to deuce, the next point decided the game and in this case, potentially the match. Fern fought off match point and captured the game to even the score at 5-5. As the great Geoff McDonald said afterwards to the press, "We were 5 points from winning the national championship." Fern was 40 all at 5-5 and fell on game point and lost 5-7 as the No.15 Cardinal captured the national championship.

But that doesn't even come close to taking away what these amazing young women accomplished this season. They were both regular season and SEC tournament champs, a remarkable feat. With the regular season down to the wire and us at 10-1, South Carolina at 10-1 and Florida at 10-1, we had to go to South Carolina and Florida for the final weekend. We defeated South Carolina, 4-2, and went to Florida with both teams at 11-1. Florida took a 3-1 lead in the match, in front of a very pro Gator fanbase, and was leading 4-1 in the final 3 singles matches. We came back and won all 3 matches. It was truly remarkable. Then we dominated the SEC Tournament defeating Florida, 4-0, to win the SEC tournament championship. We then defeated Alabama State, Clemson, Miami, Florida State and Georgia Tech to earn the right to play for it all. We came up just short but completed a 27-4 season with multiple accolades. Astra was named Most Valuable Player of the NCAA Tournament and Astra/Fern and Emma and Emily were named to the All Tournament team for doubles. The match ends the career of recent graduate Astra and Peyton Robinette, who both just earned their degrees. 

The great Astra will be moving on into the professional ranks, which is extremely exciting as she joins last year's standout senior Sydney Campbell as both try to navigate their ways to elite levels in professional women's tennis. I can't wait to keep up with both young women. We have an awesome group coming back.

Hats off to Coach Geoff McDonald, who has not only trained young women to be  phenomenal tennis players, but has also mentored phenomenal students with a team GPA of 3.6, and who are, to every single one of them, amazing young women. This team is the standard bearer for women's tennis nationally along with Stanford. Stanford owns multiple national championships, but we're on our way to capturing many more under the great McDonald.

One of my readers, MM Hamlett, put it best on Twitter yesterday.

What a run by the Vandy Women's Tennis team! The Championship match could not have been closer. I'm so proud of the #FightDores! We'll get them next time.

Amen, MM, amen. 

Vandy baseball falls to A&M, 3-1

Just couldn't get the bats going yesterday. We were just 2-for-16 (.125) with runners on base and 1-for-8 with runners in scoring position. Our defense was questionable at times, though we made some good plays. Our pitching was very good. Freshman Tyler Brown gave us 5 innings, allowing 5 hits, 2 runs, with only 1 earned, 1 walk and 4 K's. Jackson Gillis pitched an inning and gave up 2 hits, but battled and didn't allow a run. Maddux Conger pitched 2 solid innings. Maddux looks like he could be a key guy for us in the NCAA's either out of the bullpen or as a fourth or fifth starter. he throws mid 90's and looks good with his control and his location. He went 2, gave up 2 hits, 1 earned, a bunt single that knocked in a run from third, with 0 walks and 2 K's. Chandler Day got the Aggies out 1-2-3 in the ninth. So I was very encouraged with our pitching. Our pitching staff is coming together. Some guys are shaping up for the NCAA's. I like the direction our staff is headed going into the postseason. Austin Martin kept up his awesome work this year, in every aspect of the game, with 3 hits. Julian Infante added 2 hits. Julian has started to get it going with the bat, which is huge with the tournament coming up. Julian plays an awesome first base as well.

So we're out of the SEC Tournament, but that's not a bad thing, really. It's actually a pretty good thing. It gives us a lot of time to get ready for the NCAA  Tournament, that is the most important tournament. We can figure out some things with the bats this week, keep solidifying our pitching and defense, and get mentally prepared for all important postseason play. This is what the guys have been dreaming about since day 1 back in October and it's about here. Know they're pumped.

The field will be announced this coming Monday, 5-28, at 11 AM CT on ESPNU. We've been projected by D1baseball.com as a No.2 seed. I think that will still stand on Selection Monday. With our strong finish, taking 6 of our last 7, that should be the case. Not totally positive, but we're in no matter what for the 13th consecutive year under the amazing guidance of Coach Tim Corbin. Some have us projected to the Raleigh, NC, NC State regional. Will let you know as soon as it's announced on Monday. 

We've got a new opportunity coming up, a new season, and the one that counts the most. We can excel this season, still. And the great news is we're playing a lot of super talented freshman who are laying the foundation for awesome things to come for this baseball program. So a lot to be excited about with the NCAA Tournament coming up and the amazingly bright future that is ahead for our program. We have a solid sophomore class led by superb right fielder JJ Bleday, and a solid junior class. Not sure how many guys will come back for their senior years, but hopefully quite a few. And we have the No.1 recruiting class coming in as freshmen next year. We may lose some in the draft, but we should have an outstanding group of freshmen for the 2018-19 season. Our 2019 class is also ranked No.1, and our 2020 class is No.2. So no slowing down Corbs and this program. Just ready to see how far we can go in this year. We can certainly go the distance. We are a pretty hot club right now despite the hiccup yesterday. A&M pitched well and had some timely hitting, but I do like where our team is at.

David Price, Sonny Gray, Walker Buehler, Mike MInor flourishing in Big Leagues

David was superb last Thursday in Fenway defeating the Baltimore Orioles, 6-2. David pitched a 9 inning, complete game. In 9 innings of work, DP allowed 5 hits, 2 runs, a 9th inning, 2 out, 2 run homer by Manny Machado, he walked 0 batters and struck out 8. He threw 95 pitches, 69 for strikes against 26 balls. Seventy four percent of his pitches were strikes. His accuracy was off the charts great. David hit 93, 94 most of the time and hit 95 a couple of times. His cutter, at 88-89, was stellar, and his changeup was clicking. All in all a spectacular performance by David. David moved to 4-4 and now has a 4,38 ERA. He's struggled a little bit and was on the DL for a little while before this start, but he looks back. Dennis Eckersley, the great commentator for the Red Sox New England Sports Network (NESN) broadcast team, called DP, "the most important player on this team." I agree. Chris Sale is a fantastic Number 1 guy, but David solidifies the rotation and is a leader in the clubhouse. This relatively young team will need David's leadership and stellar pitching to go the distance this season. David is certainly up to the task. Proud of DP.

Sonny was just as good for the Yankees Sunday in a 10-1 victory over the Kansas City Royals on the road. Sonny pitched 8 innings, allowed just 4 hits, with 1 earned, 1 walk and 5 K's. He threw 92 pitches, 62 for strikes against 30 balls, a very good over 2:1 ratio. His fastball was hitting 93 consistently and got to 94 several times. His breaking ball was working perfectly, as well, His off speed stuff was clicking, too. Sonny moved to 3-3 with a 5.48 ERA. Sonny had been struggling this season, probably putting a lot of pressure on himself with this team picked by some to win the World Series with its amazing collection fo talent, but he just seemed calm, poised and highly confident on the mound, the Sonny Gray we're used to seeing. Hoping this is the start of something special for the man.

Walker Buehler pitched another gem for the Dodgers, but the team came up short, 2-1, to the Colorado Rockies on Monday Night. Walker went 7, gave up just 2 hits, 1 earned, a home run, walked 0 and struck out 6. Walker threw 90 pitches with 61 for strikes against 29 balls, another terrific 2:1 ratio of strikes to balls. His fastball was on fire. He hit 97 a couple of times and struck out a Rockies batter in the seventh on a 97 mile per hour heater. Walker was dealing. His change up was solid as well. Walker is ready for the prime time. The Dodgers, after a very slow start, are starting to find themselves having swept the Nationals at over the weekend at Washington and just won last night over the Rockies. So they'll get back in it in the NL West. They're only 4 1/2 back now, so they're in it. Walker is a key part of the Dodgers' resurgence. Walker is now 2-1 with a 2.38 ERA. He did not take the loss Monday Night.

Mike MInor pitched a  solid game against the Chicago White Sox Sunday. Mike pitched 5, gave up 6 hits, 3 earned, with 0 walks and 9 K's. His fastball was hitting 93-94, and his off speed stuff was outstanding. Mike and the Rangers took the loss, 3-0, but I was very encouraged with how our man pitched. Mike fell to 3-3 with a 5.59 ERA, but he pitched very well and it could very well be the start of some really good pitching out of MIke.

Men's Golf

Our Men's Golf team will be competing in the NCAA Championships starting this Friday. Huge deal for the team. Theo Humphrey, Will Gordon, Patrick Martin, John Augenstein and the team advanced to the Final Four last year, and look to take it 2 steps farther this year. The tournament will be played at Karsten Creek in Stillwater, Oklahoma. Oklahoma State will be hosting. There will be 30 teams competing, with the teams all playing 3 days of stroke play, and, after 54 holes, the field will be cut to the top 15 finishers in stroke play. On Monday, the 15 teams will compete in the final stroke play competition and the top 8 qualifying teams will earn their spots in the match play quarterfinals. The quarters and semis will be played next Tuesday and the Championship match will commence next Wednesday. We've got a very talented, hungry team and the best coach in America in Scott Limbaugh. As Coach Limbaugh always says, and it might be cliche but who cares, it's so accurate, it's not just one day at a time, but one shot at a time. That's how you become special. This team has a very good shot to do that. We'll be paired with Alabama and Florida for the first 2 rounds Friday and Saturday. Will keep you posted throughout the weekend. Golf Channel will televise the quarters, semis and championship match next Tuesday and Wednesday. Will let you know TV times if we get there. We have a very good chance of doing that.