Wednesday, May 7, 2008

Vanderbilt Baseball Notebook

Just about a month ago, it would have been easy for the Vanderbilt baseball team to hit the panic button. The Commodores were 20-10 overall and 5-6 in the Southeastern Conference, having just been swept by Ole Miss.

Yet, coach Tim Corbin and his players remained optimistic, insisting that their baseball was ahead of them. Looks like they were right.

The Commodores (35-13, 14-9 SEC) have gone 15-3 since, and find themselves alone in second place in the SEC East, three games back of division-leading Georgia, who comes to Nashville for a 3-game series this weekend.

Last night, sophomore Drew Hayes tossed a gem and Pedro Alvarez went deep twice to lead Vandy to an 8-0 victory over Memphis.

Hayes gave up two hits and issued just one walk while striking out a career-high 12 in seven innings of work.

"It was pretty dominating for him," Corbin said. "I was really happy to see it. I thought his pace was really good. He threw a lot of strikes. He was working both sides of the plate and throwing his breaking ball for strikes. It just shows how far he's come this past year. We got a great outing out of him."

Alvarez, meanwhile, seems to be finding his groove after missing the first half of the season with a broken bone in his hand. He hit a two-run, opposite-field homer in the third, and a solo shot to right field that traveled an estimated 430 feet in the fifth.

"I just think it's a matter of time for him," Corbin said. "What we were seeing is 75 percent of the hitter he really is. We just need to give him time. Sooner or later, he's going to break out. This was one of the nights were he hit the ball well. I thought his swings on Sunday were pretty good against Tennessee. I think that kind of led in to what happened tonight."

Dominic de la Osa hit his seventh homer of the year in the seventh. The outfielder became the school's all-time leader in hits over the weekend and Brett Hait's got a nice piece on de la Osa'a decision to return for his senior season in The Nashville City Paper.

Over the weekend, the Commodores swept in-state rival Tennessee in Knoxville, making Corbin 15-5 against the Vols.

The offense scored 27 runs on 42 hits, 19 of which went for extra bases. The Commodores hit .356 and an impressive .392 (20-for-51) with runners in scoring position.

Redshirt freshman Steve Liddle went for 5-for-11 with three doubles and three RBI, Ryan Flaherty went 6-for-14 with a homer, two doubles and five RBI, Shea Robin went 6-for-14 with two homers, a double and four RBI, while David Macias and de la Osa were both 5-for-12.

On Sunday, de la Osa had two doubles to become the school's all-time leader in hits (284) and doubles (62).

Defensively, the Commodores did not record an error in 120 chances. As the Barca Blog points out, it's defense first for Vandy.

On the mound, Mike Minor, Caleb Cotham and Chase Reid picked up victories, while junior Brett Jacobson recorded two saves and has not allowed a run in his last seven appearances (nine innings).

Vanderbilt hosts Tennessee Tech at Hawkins Field tonight before hosting Georgia Friday night (6 p.m.), Saturday (2 p.m.) and Sunday (1 p.m.).

On Friday, the Commodores will honor seven seniors: Adam Cronk, de la Osa, Alex Feinberg, Brad French, Parker Hanks, Macias and Robin.

1 comment:

Tony Arnold said...

Vandy fans used to say during football season, "just wait 'til basketball season."

Now we adding, "just wait 'til baseball season."

Now if we can get to where we can enjoy all seasons!