Baseball team has stellar weekend, head to SEC Tourney with major momentum
We swept Auburn with a 4-3 clutch victory on Saturday at the Hawk before 3,626 fans on a beautiful, sunny Saturday afternoon. It was a terrific close out game to the regular season.
We got some more super contributions from our freshmen. Frosh second baseman Alonzo Jones and fellow classmate Liam Sabino, who was our designated hitter, both had key singles in the bottom of the fourth to key a three run scoring frame. Junior center fielder Bryan Reynolds also had two hits and started the fourth inning rally with a two out single. Kyle Wright got the W to move to 8-3 on the season. Kyle went six, gave up five hits, with two earned, three walks and nine K’s. Kyle’s been extraordinarily good this season. With Kyle and Jordan at the top of our rotation, we have two super arms carrying us, and we look like we might be solidifying that third starter with John Kilichowski having a good outing last Thursday Night in the second game of our doubleheader sweep of the War Eagles. And we now look like we have some depth in the starting rotation with freshmen Patrick Raby, Matt McGary and Donny Everett showing signs that they can give us good outings when we need them to. Collin Snider came in for the seventh and for one out in the eighth, and battled like Collin always does, but ran into some trouble in the eighth. Ben Bowden came in and gave up a run to Auburn on a base hit, as the Tigers cut the lead to 4-3, but Ben got out of it thanks to a clutch defensive play by sophomore third baseman Will Toffey. The Auburn hitter hit a high chopper to deep third. Will leapt, secured the ball, and dove for the bag and tagged it before the runner made it to the base. It was a huge play by Will. Will has not had his best year at the plate, but his defense has been superb, and he’s starting to hit like he was hitting last year. Will is a terrific player. I just have a feeling he’s going to get that bat going in the postseason which would be a huge boost to our lineup because Will does have a great bat. Ben got all three hitters out in the ninth to record his 10th save. Ben is definitely one of our leaders. Such a heart guy and Ben has an electric arm. Like Ben as our clutch closer like Adam Ravanelle was two years ago. Middle relief is coming along and I think we’ll be fine there as Corbs can mix and match with some arms. Relief pitching will be critical down the stretch. All our pitching will be.
We finished the season 41-16 overall and 18-12 in the SEC. It was a very solid finish for a team that just keeps growing. Shortstop Connor Kaiser, who has been outstanding in the field for us and has given us a huge lift at short, also had a key single in the bottom of the fourth to back up Alonzo and Liam. Connor has had a tremendous season in his freshman campaign. We have a stellar freshmen class. Alonzo played second and had a few struggles, but made some nice plays too. Starting second baseman, senior Tyler Campbell, has been banged up a little, so Zo started in his place. Tyler came in for the ninth. Would like to have Tyler available for the postseason, and have Alonzo definitely contributing with the bat and playing some second as well when needed. Love the Jones-Sabino bats in the lineup. Jeren didn’t have his best day at the plate Saturday, but he’s still playing very well and had a really good Thursday Night at the plate. Jeren plays superior right field. Just need to get left field settled. Jason Delay did a tremendous job behind the plate. Jason is stellar and can hit some. Karl Ellison backs him up well.
So we finished as the sixth seed in the conference heading into the SEC Tournament at the Hoover Met in B’ham, AL., and will play Missouri in the first game at 9:30 AM CT/10:30 AM ET tomorrow, Tuesday, on the SEC Network. I’m pretty sure Sheff will start for us, and the Tigers will start their ace, Tanner Houck, who is 5-5 with a 2.99 ERA. He throws it mid to high 90’s and has 100 K’s on the season against 26 walks. He throws it hard and is accurate. He’s another stellar Friday Night guy in the SEC, so it will be a massive challenge for our guys. We’ll have to get good work from Sheff and the defense, and we’ll have to get three or four runs across the plate. Looking forward to it.
I’m not even thinking past tomorrow. Tomorrow will be tough and we HAVE to win. I’ll go from there on the blog if we are victorious tomorrow. Not even going to talk about anything other than the game tomorrow. That’s the focus for this baseball team. I’ll have a complete wrap up tomorrow afternoon or early Wednesday morning. Missouri was 26-29 overall this season and 9-21 in the conference, but with this being a single elimination game and Houck throwing, we’ll have to be at our best.
Women's Tennis advances to the Final Four
The girls did it again, this time beating Virginia, 4-2 in the Elite Eight, to advance to the Final Four today at noon CT/1 PM ET. Wow, it was awesome. Frances Altick closed out the match with a6-4, 6-2 victoryover Julie Elbaba of UVA. It was a hard fought match and Frances’s toughness and consistency with her ground strokes and her serve were the differences because Elbaba was pretty darn good and an athletic, powerful player. Sydney Campbell lost her match at No.1, but won the doubles at No.1 with Courtney Colton. They didn’t finish the match, but Sydney and Courtney were ahead. Frances and Astra Sharma won at No.2 doubles, and Fernanda Contreras and Georgina Sellyn won at No.3 to get the doubles point for us, then Fernanda and Astra won their matches, we lost a couple of singles matches, but the clutch play of Frances closed it out.
We now play Stanford, which won a hard fought match over Michigan Saturday. We did beat Stanford earlier this season, 4-1, but it’s a different time of year, and Stanford has four ranked players from No.25-100, so a major challenge for this girls. But I certainly believe in our group.
The match can be seen online at www.vucommodores . com and I will have a full report tonight. These are exciting times once again for Geoff and the tennis team. They are a spectacular group.
Will have more coming up later today and in the upcoming days.
Finally, I went to Regions Field here in Birmingham this past Saturday Night to watch Carson pitch for the Birmingham Barons, the Chicago White Sox double A team. I was going to interview Carson afterwards, but he had a tough outing, but a lot of it was not his fault. He gave up nine runs, but three of them were unearned and he really could have gotten out of the first inning if his shortstop wasn’t so bad. The shortstop made a critical error and the third base umpire called a line drive ball to left field fair when it looked like it was six inches foul. The shortstop really committed three errors behind Carson, but he was only charged with one. It was a tough night for the man, and I know how Carson is and knew he wouldn’t want to talk after that outing. He’s doing pretty well with the Barons, he just had a rough outing Saturday Night and got no help from his shortstop and a bad call by the third base ump, so it was an anomaly. Carson pitches again June 2nd at Regions Field and I’ll be there and will definitely talk to him hopefully after a stellar result. It was an awesome night at the ballpark. Sunny, 75 degrees, 8,500+ fans, a complete sellout. It’s an awesome minor league baseball stadium. Probably about three years old now. Great move by Birmingham to move their team there. Looking forward to June 2nd for Carson. Dansby comes to Birmingham in mid June with the Mississippi Braves and will be there for a game and talk to Dans afterward and give you Dans’s thoughts on being in Mississippi then. Will have Carson on June 3rd if the rotation holds like it’s supposed to. Regardless, will have Carson story in early June when he pitches again at Regions Field.