Rabes (above) once again superb for us (photo courtesy of D1 Baseball)
The Vanderbilt baseball team moved to 14-13 in the SEC and 32-21 overall with an 18-1 victory over Alabama before 2,904 fans at Hawkins Field on David Price bobblehead night.
It's appropriate that Patrick Raby was once again spectacular on a night in which we whimsically, but with the utmost respect for our Red Sox hero, honored DP.
Rabes moved to 9-3 on the season and now has a 2.24 ERA as the sophomore from Knoxville threw another masterpiece. Rabes went 7, gave up only 2 hits, no runs, with 5 walks and 7 K's. That's more base on balls than Rabes usually gives up, but he was still superb in his effort. The fastball was hitting 90-91 and he was locating it on the low inside and outside corners, and his off speed stuff was really clicking as well. The Rabes-Kyle combination is becoming very potent and makes us a very interesting team as the postseason approaches.
We still stand as the No.8 seed if the SEC tournament started today, but Auburn and A&M are at 15-13 right now, so we're only a game back of them and could move up to as high as 6th if we sweep and they lose some more. If we finished 6th, we'd play the 11th seed at 9:30 AM CT/10:30 AM ET next Tuesday at the Hoover Met. SEC Network will televise all games Tuesday through Saturday with ESPN2 televising the championship Sunday at 2 PM CT/3 PM ET. The 11th place team right now is South Carolina. If we finish 7th, we'd play the 10th seed at Hoover at approximately 1 PM CT/2 PM ET on Tuesday. The 10th seed is Missouri. If we finish 8th we'd play the 9th seed, which right now is Ole Miss. That game would start at approximately 4:30 PM CT/5:30 PM ET. A lot can change in the standings this weekend, so just need to take care of business tonight and tomorrow and get ready for the riveting SEC tournament.
The bats were en fuego last night as well. We scored 5 in the bottom of the 1st, 8 in the fourth, 1 in the 5th, and 4 in the 7th. Julian Infante was 3 for 6 with 2 Ribeyes, Jeren Kendall was 3 for 5 with 2 runs scored, Jason Delay was 3 for 4 with 4 Ribbies, Ro was 2 for 4 with a pair of runs scored, Ethan Paul was 2 for 3 with a 2 freshly cut steaks, Harrison Ray, who got the start in right, had a 2 run single, and the awesome Alonzo Jones came off the bench to substitute for Ethan at 2nd, and drove in 2 runs with a triple that was close to an inside the park home run as Zo was flying around the bases when his liner to right field got past the right fielder. He was making the turn, but Corbs held him up as the throw came into the second baseman. Plus at that point, the game was out of reach and Corbs didn't want to show Alabama up. Right thing to do. Love Harrison and Zo off the bench for us as starters at times. They can really help us going forward.
We pounded out 21 hits, played flawless defense, as usual, and Paxton Stover came in and gave us 2 solid innings in relief of Rabes to finish it off. Paxton gave up a homer, but that was the only hit he gave up. He didn't walk anybody and recored 3 K's. His fastball was clicking well 90 or so, and his curve was dynamite. Like what we could get out of Paxton out of the pen in the postseason. We're starting to develop more depth on our pitching staff, which is a huge thing for us.
Tonight's game is at 6:30 PM CT/7:30 ET on SEC Network+. Kyle Wright takes the mound for us. Kyle is 3-5 with a 3.06 ERA and has been totally on fire lately. Kyle will face Crimson Tide right hander Jake Walters, who is 5-4 with a 3.56 ERA. They're all big, so we need to keep up the good work in all 3 phases of the game tonight. First pitch tomorrow's is at 1 PM CT/2 PM ET with our pitcher undecided. Corbs will probably choose between Chandler Day and Drake Fellows. Bama is throwing right hander Nick Eicholtz (1-3, 6.27). That game will also be broadcast by SEC Network+.
The No.3 Vanderbilt Women's tennis team hits the courts today in the Sweet 16 versus No.13 California. The awesome Astra Sharma along with phenomenal senior Sydney Campbell and the rest of this star studded team which aims to advance to the Elite Eight, but against a difficult opponent. I have an interview with Astra up on the blog if you're interested, Astra was so compelling in the interview as was coach Geoff McDonald.
As Geoff told me on Tuesday, they're all tough opponents at this point and Cal is no exception. They are stellar. The match starts at 3 PM CT/4 PM ET at Athens, GA. and will be streamed on the www.vucommodores.com site. You really want to see our women compete. They are spectacular.
VU Men's Golf
The Vanderbilt Men's Golf team is back in the NCAA tournament for the 4th straight season. We will tee it up a week from today, Friday, May 26th, at the Rich Harvest Farms golf course in Sugar Grove, Illinois. There are 30 teams competing, as 5 teams qualified from each of the 6 regionals. The first 3 days are 18 holes of stroke play each day with the field being cut to 15 teams after the third day. The 4th round will be stroke play and the top 8 teams that emerge on Monday's 4th round will play in the match play event Tuesday and Wednesday. The quarters and semis are Tuesday and the championship match is Wednesday, May 31st. The Golf Channel will televise the quarters, semis, and championship match.
We have made the quarters the last 2 years and aim for even greater heights this year. We have the material to go all the way, but we have to play it a shot at a time, if you don't mind my trite but very true statement. Know that's what Scott Limbaugh wants his players to do from the first tee on Friday. Proud of what Scott does for our program, he's made us elite. He's superb. Now we're trying to take the next step. Proud of all the guys for competing so hard. I may have misreported this on Wednesday, and if so I apologize, but Central Florida won our regional at College Grove, TN. I may have reported it was Lipscomb, but that was not accurate. We finished in a tie for 2nd with Kennesaw State and Clemson. Lipscomb rounded out the 5 qualifiers from our region by finishing 5th.
The day was very difficult with 20-25 MPH winds. Scott was not unhappy with the team, he thought we fought really hard and played a lot of super golf for the 3 days. I'm going to try to get Coach Limbaugh on the phone early next week for a preview. I'll also give us a look at the Rich Harvest Farms course, key holes for our team. Thanks.