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Vandy Baseball: Sixth Week Behind, Week Ahead

March 30th, 2012 Comments off

The Commodores finally got of the schnide on Saturday with their first SEC win on a walk off single by Conrad Gregor. Photo credit: Mike Rapp, VandySports.com.

From the darkest of moments, the Vanderbilt season has seemingly turned a corner. Although it would be hard to imagine another Omaha run and the NCAA playoffs still seem like a long shot, the VandyBoys do appear to be having fun out there. After a heartbreaking 1-0 loss to Georgia on Friday, the Commodores erupted upon Conrad Gregor’s game winning single on Saturday night. Visiting Bulldog fans might have wondered what could have caused a near dog pile type celebration, but after seeing the frustration of a 7-15 record at the time and a season with so much promise in which so many things have gone wrong, the raucous victory lap was long overdue.

The Dores have a long way to go to get truly right, but it was a great first step and a pair of nail-biter victories over the Bulldogs were complimented by an easy midweek win over Tennessee Tech. More importantly, for the first time this season, Vanderbilt appears to be really having fun out there and is playing a more fundamentally sound version of baseball.

The Immediate Progression – Getting to .501

Eligibility for the SEC playoffs has been expanded to ten teams in 2012. Currently, only one team seems certain to be excluded. The Alabama Crimson Tide are 9-16 and just 1-5 in SEC play with an RPI of 135. While Vanderbilt is just a game better on the season (and, more troubling, has yet to win any of their seven road games – though six have been against NCAA’s elite Florida and Stanford squads), the Commodores schedule appears softer than the Tide from hereon out. So it seems that Vanderbilt will likely compete with Tennessee (15-10, 2-4) and an injury-plagued Mississippi State (17-9, 2-4) squad for the lower end of Hoover eligibility this year.

Now, it’s entirely possible that the VandyBoys could either click on full in SEC play – after all, the talent is there – or completely fall apart. My guess is that we end up somewhere in the middle of that road. The starting pitching has certainly come around, and if TJ Pecoraro can regain his feel for pitching and have enough endurance to start, Vanderbilt should feel confident in a Sunday win each week (especially with Drew VerHagen and Will Clinard sharing closing duties).

So what would Vanderbilt need to do to be eligible for post-season play?

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SEC Baseball, Part 1 – The East and the Draft

August 21st, 2011 2 comments

This is the first in a three part look at the draft's impact on SEC rosters for the coming year.

This is the first in a three part series looking at the Southeastern Conference and the impact of the Major League Baseball Draft for the 2011/12 academic year. Part one provides data relating to the drafted players and recruits for each of the six Eastern division squads. Part two will do the same for the Western division. I’ll close with a final look at and overview of how each team matched up in recruiting, retaining and promoting their programs going forward. I’ll also identify some of the key newcomer names to watch on the horizon as we head into yet another year of baseball in the best conference in college sports.

Look for part two later in the week.

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Vanderbilt Baseball: Fifteenth Week Behind, Week Ahead

June 3rd, 2011 1 comment

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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Vanderbilt Baseball: Ninth Week Behind, Week Ahead

April 19th, 2011 2 comments

Matt Price, along with Michael Roth, represented the difference in elevating SC over then-#1 Vanderbilt. Photo courtesy of GamecockCentral.com, South Carolina's top sports and fan site.

Well, all good things must come to an end. Despite the 2-2 week and the first series loss of the season, things still look up for the Commodores. They have the midweek off after playing one of the great regular season series in recent SEC history. It was a battle of Titans and, while some might want others to kiss the proverbial ring, it was a match-up of near equals that will benefit both squads in the experience category.

The weekend also marked a milestone on the calendar — one which leads right into our Immediate Progression.

The Immediate Progression: Road to Hoover

With the SEC schedule hitting the halfway point, it’s time to take a quick peek at how the Road to Hoover is panning out. As a general rule, a trip to Hoover pretty much guarantees an NCAA birth, with those falling on the wrong side of the line in trouble. While the SEC usually puts no fewer than 8 teams in the regionals, Hoover is a nice safety net.

There are three teams that have pretty much assured themselves of a Hoover berth with early season success. Not surprisingly, those three teams are the beasts of the east.

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