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Vanderbilt Baseball 2012: Second and Third Week Behind, Week Ahead

March 6th, 2012 Comments off

Spencer Navin was the catalyst for a Vanderbilt sweep over the weekend. Photo credit: Mike Rapp, VandySports.com.

A brutal week at work kept me from my bed, my social life and my blogging activity. That doesn’t mean I didn’t have time to follow the VandyBoys games, but I wasn’t able to do last week’s Week Behind, Week Ahead. As a result, I’m giving you a double dose today, though I’ll keep the recaps short so as to prevent this from being an entry of whopping proportions.

The last six games were a mix of bad and good. Vanderbilt jumped all over Oakland for the first win of the season midweek. The Dores looked pretty ugly against Oregon, though they weren’t steamrolled as against Stanford. Nevertheless, the poor defense and wildness on the mound led to a similar three game sweep. In the midweek, the Dores looked awful against Louisiana Tech, but righted the ship with a double header and then weekend sweep against URI.

That double header sweep was a big plus for the Dores. Entering the game at six games under .500, the Commodores have to start worrying about eligibility for the NCAA tournament. We saw in 2011 two SEC squads (Auburn and Georgia) have their potential NCAA bids hinge on getting over the .500 mark for their season records. Auburn failed to make it, while Georgia snuck into a bid. Like Vanderbilt, the Bulldogs started off the season rough, before seeing the spinal injury to Johnathan Taylor somehow jumpstart UGA into a change in attitude. While, thankfully, no such incident occurred at the Hawk, one can hope the Dores saw their turnaround in the doubleheader sweep.

The Immediate Progression – Getting Right

Baseball is a funny game. A great team can look great one day and horrible the next. But generally teams build on momentum. After being steamrolled by Stanford, that momentum was all the way on the negative. While an overmatched Oakland squad couldn’t put up much of a fight two Wednesdays ago, the bugaboos reared their ugly head against Oregon. Vandy’s pitchers tried to be too perfect and/or came down with cases of the yips. Walks, hit batsman and 3-1 counts all lead to bad results, and the Commodore staff was allowing far too many leadoff batters to reach. Combine that with an infield defense that has committed 14 errors through 11 games and you have real problems.

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Vanderbilt Baseball 2012: First Week Behind, Week Ahead

February 20th, 2012 Comments off

As with many of the Commodore bats, sophomore slugger Conrad Gregor struggled to get anything going at the plate. (Photo Jimmy Jones)

Vanderbilt kicked off the season before I could finish my season preview, but that’s not going to stop the Week Behind, Week Ahead from going forward on schedule. It would have been nice to have some had positive preview stories to kick off the new year. Instead, Vanderbilt transitioned from perhaps their best season on the diamond into the worst weekend of the Corbin era out West.

The Commodores took their traditional west coast voyage to start the year, a tradition that has seen visits to Arizona State (DeMarini Classic), Stanford , UCLA (Legends Classic) and San Diego in the past four years. The common theme of the sunset trips has been an unpleasant experience at Sunken Diamond field. While the Dores went 1-6 in their trips to Palo Alto (including a 2009 loss to Cal-Berkley), they had a good deal of success in Tucson, Los Angeles and San Diego, not to mention a clean sweep of the Houston Minute Maid Classic in 2007. So perhaps the lesson here is to stop scheduling trips to Palo Alto.

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