Monday, May 19, 2008

Baseball Notebook

To put it lightly, it was an ugly weekend in Gainesville for the Vanderbilt baseball team. The Commodores (37-18, 15-14 Southeastern Conference) enter the SEC Tournament as losers of five straight, including all three against the Gators. It's their longest SEC losing streak since 2003.

Vanderbilt earned a six-seed and will play third-seeded Florida Wednesday in Hoover, Ala., at 1 p.m. CT in the opening round of the double-elimination tournament. If they win, the Dores will play the No. 2 LSU-No. 7 South Carolina winner on Thursday at 5 p.m. If they lose, the Dores will the play the loser of that LSU-South Carolina contest Thursday at 10 a.m. You can check out the full bracket here.

Unlike a year ago, when Vanderbilt seemed to have a knack for winning close games, this year's squad has struggled finishing out games. In fact, the Dores led in all three games this weekend and were ahead in the eighth inning in two of them.

On Saturday, May 10, Vanderbilt was one out away from defeating Georgia 2-1 and moving within one game of the SEC East-leading Bulldogs. But, the Dores went on to lose that game in extra innings. Over the past five games, they've lost three two-run games and two one-run games.

Still, Vanderbilt is in the tournament for the third straight year and the fifth in six seasons under coach Tim Corbin. The Dores have a good track record in Hoover, reaching the championship game in 2004 and 2006 and winning it in 2007.

We think we own that tournament," Corbin said in a story by Brett Hait of The Nashville City Paper.

Junior third baseman Pedro Alvarez continues to rake, going 6-for-12 with four doubles, a homer, three RBI and five runs scored. In their latest mock draft, Baseball America has Alvarez going No. 2 to the Pirates.

The Commodores struggled on the mound as the pitching staff sported a 8.78 ERA and gave up 38 hits (including six doubles, a triple and eight homers) in 26.2 innings. Ouch.

Corbin addressed the media this morning in the SEC Press Conference and here are a couple of highlights:

On the depth of the SEC
"I don't think there's much difference between the No. 1 team and the No. 12 team in this conference. I feel like there are nine or 10 teams that can go into a Regional and come out smelling like a rose."

On describing this season
"It's been a tough year for us in a lot of different ways. Not as smooth as last year and we set a bar for ourselves last year by playing so well. Whether that was attainable or not, we just didn't play that same way so we've come to this point of the season in a lot different manner than last year. I choose to believe it's all for the good. It's all about perspective right now and it is a new season."

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