Tag:NCAA Baseball
Posted on: June 1, 2009 9:47 pm
Edited on: June 1, 2009 9:49 pm

Tim Corbin Needs To Take Credit For Vandy's Loss

They don't pay me to be a yes man for the Commodores and I don't plan to now.  The loss tonight was devastating.  A large number of people across the country along with me felt certain that Vanderbilt would be on their way to the Super Regional against California Fullerton.  Instead, Vanderbilt is going home following an embarrassing loss in which everything that could go wrong went wrong. Perhaps the worst part of it is that it should have never happened.  Instead, Vanderbilt goes home losing 5-3 to Lousiville and Minor is tagged with his second loss of the tournament when he should have been sitting on the bus a hero.  Once again Gray comes in to keep Vandy close at the end, but again, that proved to be a great effort at the wrong time. If we could have seen him in the fourth then I think Vandy wins this one, because the spirit of Louisville was crushed and the crowd was out of it.

The Commodores had everything working for them. Louisville was coming into the game as the visitor following an 8-4 loss to Vanderbilt the night before.  Vandy had the most rested bullpen and a tremendous pitching advantage.  They would choose to start lefthander an Ace of the staff, Mike Minor to get Vandy started on a pitch by committee approach. The game would be more like an all-star game in which the Cardinals would not be able to go through the lineup twice on any pitcher.  This was a tremendous strategy that seemed to come on the basis of what they learned in losing to LSU in the SEC tournament championship.

The strategy was picture perfect.  Aaron Westlake had provided the early fire power with a homerun that gave Vandy a 1-0 lead through three innings of flawless pitching by Mike Minor. He was done. He had thrown 45 pitches and was scheduled to only throw 40 for the night.  However, a coach is supposed to coach not with emotion but with his head.  Minor wanted to continue and Coach Corbin agreed.  The one thing I know from watching Minor is when he goes, he goes quickly.  So in the fourth he gives up a hit, and then Vandy commits the error on a routine play to first.  Then there is the walk and 66 pitches, Minor is still left in gives up the three run homerun on pitch 67.  Oops 22 pitches too late; Coach Corbin goes to the bullpen.   

Vandy tried to come back but the key 7<sup>th</sup> inning Vandy had the tying runs on 2n and third with 1 out and failed to get them across.  Vandy had a great season, they are young, they will make errors but tonight, I feel that Coach Corbin needs to take credit for the loss.

Louisville had 5 runs on 8 hits and no erros.
Vandy 3 runs on 7 hits and 3 errors. 

Posted on: May 31, 2009 10:33 pm

Vanderbilt Proves They Belong

Nick Christiani pitched Vandy into the championship game.  The Commodores will meet the Louisville Cardinals in the “what if” game Monday night 7 p.m. for the championship of the Louisville Regional after defeating the Cardinals 8-4 last night.  Coming out of the loser bracket, the Dores did what we had hoped for, proved they belonged.  Now Vandy will have a chance to make their way to the Super Regional with just one more win.

The Commodores losers in game one of the Louisville Regional against Middle Tennessee State roared back in the loser’s bracket with two impressive shutout victories.  Faced with lose and go home, Vandy chose to win and picked up their first ever NCAA Tournament shutout victory with a 10-0 win over #4 seed Indiana.  Then they threw their second shutout in as many days with  a 6-0 win over MTSU Sunday afternoon. The game against Middle Tennessee was a rematch of their game one encounter in which they lost 5-4.

Starting pitching was the key to Vandy’s remarkable turnaround.  Freshman right-hander Sonny Gray struck out 10 in eight innings against Indiana and Junior Caleb Cotham threw a complete-game four-hit shutout Sunday afternoon at Patterson Stadium.

Posted on: May 29, 2009 8:20 pm
Edited on: May 29, 2009 8:22 pm


MTSU defeated Vandy 5-4 in the opening game of the Louisville Region of the NCAA Baseball Championship.  They had to hang on for dear life, but they did and they proved they not only belong but also the #2 seed.  Vandy however got in the SEC Tournament through the back door and by doing well in the SEC tournament got an at large bid, but they have yet to prove they belong.

Vandy threw their ace of the staff, Mike Minor, against the ace of the Blue Raiders , Kenneth Roberts.  Minor  was rudely welcomed with a grand slam homerun by Stuart Meinhart in the first inning.  Vandy battled back with two runs in the top of the fourth.  The game remained that way with Vandy often threatening but unable to get anything across the plate.  MTSU got there next run on a solo shot by Taylor Dennis in the top of the 7th.

Vandy scored two more runs of their own in the bottom of the eighth and threatened again in the 9th with bases loaded and two outs but reliever Codie Woods got Jason Esposito to ground into a game ending fielder's choice.

Roberts was the outstanding player in the conference championship for the Blue Raiders and he showed why today.  He is now 11-1.

Vandy showed moments of brilliance and to their credit down 4-0 in the first inning they did not quit.  Still, the failure to produce the big runs with runners in scoring position proved once again their achilles heel.  Vandy left 12 runners in scoring position. That my friends is the reason they lost.  Give it to the Blue Raiders they played with confidence and guts and did not flinch.

Vanderbilt will play the loser of tonight's game (No. 1 Louisville vs. No. 4 Indiana) on Saturday at at 2 p.m. CT.

Posted on: May 24, 2009 10:06 pm

Sometimes You Win and Sometimes You Lose

All in all this was a good SEC Tournament despite late hours, rain delays and of course if your team wasn't the champion, despite losing.  As a Vanderbilt fan, I leave very happy in what the Dores where able to accomplish this week. I believe they solidified a trip to the NCAA tournament.  Nevertheless I have to say, I leave the tournament with a sense of disastisfaction.  I did not know there would not be a what if game if Vandy lost.  Therefore, I was stunned when there was no other game and it was over.  Vandy and LSU split.  Both lost to each other but LSU claims the prize.  I leave wondering really?  Could they have beat Vandy 2 out of 3?  Somehow, I will always live with the thought, I don't think so. 

I have to confess that unless Mike Minor could not pitch, why wasn't he out there.  I still question how the pitching decisions are made.  The bullpen is not very strong and the pitching rotation was set for a short series in which you had a days rest.  I just don't think the pitching staff was handled correctly.  Of course I only write what I think.  I would have pitched this like an allstar game if I knew there wasn't going to be a what if game.  I just don't think we played to win and that also is why I was fooled when there was no other game. 

You are welcome to comment. I don't necessarily expect people to agree with me this time.  There is a sense of emptiness in Commodore Country tonight.
Posted on: May 16, 2009 12:03 am

Thriller in Nashville

Tennessee shortstop Zach Osborne and rightfielder Charles Thurber combined for 6 hits in 9 at bats and three runs as the Volunteers took the Commodores down for the second time.  On the brink of defeat down 6-5 the Vols halted Vandy's bid for a NCAA tournament berth with a win in extra innings.  Vandy took the lead for the first time 6-5 in the bottom of the eighth but failed to get the needed support from the bullpen in the top of the 9th. Tennessee tied the game 6-6 and threatened to take the lead back before Russel Brewer finally closed the door on the Vol rally.

Vandy then put the first two batters on in the home half of the 9th.  That set the stage for 1B Curt Casali to sacrifice the runners to second and third and DH Aaron Westlake at the plate with 1 out.   Westlake came to the plate with a .353 BA with runners in scoring position.  With Reynolds holding at 3rd, Liddle on 2nd, and the count 2-2, Will Laconte got the all important strike out.  It was all left to mano on mano against cather Andrew Giobbi, who not surprisingly with 2 RBI in the game was intentionally walked LF Joe Loftus, 0-3 was Vandy's last hope. Laconte took the count to 2-1 and then 2-2 and then...strike three. If Vandy was going to play their way in they would have to do it in extra innings.

Tennessee led of their 10th on a single by Davis on new Vandy pitcher Goodenow and then Hawn reached on an error to put runners on 1st and 2nd and nobody out. Again Vandy was forced to go to the bullpen.  Vandy went with Nick Christiani. Forsythe promptly greeted him with a single to left scoring Davis (the eventual winning run) with the go ahead run.  Christiani then settled down to strike out Polk for Tennessee allowing Vandy to move the infield into double-play depth.  Christiani then got Hamaker to ground out second to first as the Dores could not work the DP.  That brought to the plate Charles Thurber with a base open and Vandy awarded the intentional pass.  About time.  CF/Pitcher Matt Ramsey came to the plate 0-3 on the night with two outs and the bases loaded.   Ramsey then hit the ball back to the pitcher who made the play to first for the final out of the inning.

Vandy would now come to plate down 1 at home.  Tennessee would be facing the bottom of the order.  Leading off in their half of the inning Johnathon White (CF).  White flied to right for the 1st out.  Jason Espisito (3B) struck out.  Brain Harris made the final out for the Dores.  With terrible relief from the bullpen the Does looking like a sinking ship.
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