Accompanying the VandyBoys strong finish were multiple appearances from Brian Miller’s rescue beaver, Chance. Photo courtesy of Mike Rapp, VandySports.com.
So, I’m just a bad VandyBoys blogger. During the month-plus since my last post, the Vanderbilt baseball team has undergone a transformation in which a pitching staff matured and leaders emerged. Gone were the 1-7 and 7-15 starts and the Commodores finished with a flurry, including a 16-4 run down the stretch of the season.
All told, the Dores came up huge winning their last five games (two at LSU and a home sweep of the Rebel Black Bears) to ensure a record over .500 entering the SEC tournament at Hoover. They topped that off by getting to the tournament final undefeated, before being shut out by Mississippi State’s ridiculous pitching staff. It was a stellar run that included two victories over nemesis Florida, who had entered Hoover with a seven game winning streak over Coach Corbin’s boys. So what did we learn and see from this squad?
We saw TJ Pecoraro return early from Tommy John surgery and throw back to back complete games in the last two weekends of the season. We saw Connor Harrell emerge from a slump and start mashing the ball all over the park. We saw Tony Kemp run rampant on the basepaths and single-handedly cause a couple Ole Miss pitchers ulcers. We saw Sam Selman emerge into a legitimate lefty ace. We saw a stuffed animal (oops, sorry, a totally real Canadian beaver that Brian Miller found on the side of the road… completely not a gift from his mom) help inspire fear in the eyes of the Crimson Tide Rally Penguin and Florida’s silly pet goldfish. [You can follow Chance at @VU_RallyBeaver and Alabama’s mascot at @BamaRllyPenguin]
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The final game of the SEC season pitted the two teams I considered the best at the start of the year. Unfortunately, Florida was better that day. Photo courtesy Mike Rapp of VandySports.com.
Well it was quite the amazing regular season. Vandy ended up as tri-champs of the SEC regular season, but came up just short in Hoover, falling to Florida in the championship game after storming past Georgia, South Carolina and Arkansas. Vandy also fell just short of a number 1 ranking, finishing 2nd in the final coaches’ and baseball writers’ polls and third in the Baseball America and Collegiate Baseball rankings. The team moves on to the Nashville Regional with a national seed in hand and Oklahoma State, Troy and Belmont coming to the Hawk.
The Immediate Progression – When It Strikes Me is Credentialed?
Indeed, thanks to the help of College Baseball Daily, for whom I will be covering the Nashville Regional, I’ll be carrying a press pass down to the regional this weekend. Look for some posts by me on the mother ship website of NCAA Baseball coverage this weekend. I’ll also have tickets in hand, so I intend to spend some time in the stands this weekend, but with temperatures forecast in the 90s, I’m not to ashamed to shirk the heat and head up to the press box to cover the game alongside VandySports.com’s Chris Lee. It should be a great weekend.
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Categories: Baseball, Sport, Vanderbilt Arkansas, Baseball, Belmont, Florida, Georgia, Jason Esposito, NCAA Tournament, Oklahoma State, SEC, SEC Tournament, Sonny Gray, South Carolina, Tim Corbin, Tony Kemp, Troy, Vanderbilt, Vandy Baseball, Week Behind Week Ahead