As the rain fell in Nashville, it swept away two of Vanderbilt's easiest SEC games. Facing the 13-30 Georgia Bulldogs, the Commodores were primed for a series sweep after a 17-5 opening game win Friday night. The 'Dores had superior firepower and a fired-up Sonny Gray coming back from suspension waiting to pounce on the Dawgs and propel Vandy back up the SEC standings. Unfortunately, Mother Nature had different plans; a weekend of torrential rain and flooding canceled games two and three in Nashville, and per SEC rules they won't be made up.
The Georgia series presented the Commodores with a chance to bounce back from a rough three game stretch that included two losses to Tennessee and one to Austin Peay, all on the road. Vanderbilt's bats seemed to finally come alive with 17 runs against Georgia's top starting pitcher, but the team couldn't capitalize on this momentum thanks to the terrible rain. Instead, the 'Dores will gear up for a showdown with #9 LSU, who had been ranked as highly as #5 just two weeks ago before embarking on an 0-7 skid.
The upcoming LSU series will be a major test for both sides, as LSU will need some wins to regain their top ten status, while Vanderbilt will be looking to prove themselves against an elite team whilst battling through their own 1-3 losing stretch. The 'Dores will have to prove that Friday's 17 run explosion was more than just an outlier of offense in SEC play, and closer Russell Brewer will have to show that he's got his killer's edge back after a string of subpar outings that have cost his team two games in the last week. A decisive series win would provide a big resume booster when the NCAA Tournament selection committee chooses hosts for Regional tournaments in June.
Game 0 - Austin Peay 5, Vanderbilt 4: Vanderbilt led 4-0 in the sixth inning before getting shut down by the surging Governors. Matt Kole's grand slam off of Chase Reid tied the game in bottom of the sixth, and Adam Browett scored on a Russell Brewer wild pitch to seal the win for Austin Peay. The game was the second in Vanderbilt's three-game losing streak where Brewer allowed the winning run to score - a rare misstep for a pitcher who looked like the SEC's best closer for the first two months of the season. Andrew Giobbi and Connor Harrell homered for the 'Dores, while Jason Esposito added a two-run double.
Game 1 - Vanderbilt 17, Georgia 5: The Commodores pounded the SEC's worst team with 13 hits as seven different players had RBIs for the home team. Curt Casali led the team at the plate with a three run homer and two-run double, showcasing just what he can add to the lineup with a healthy hamstring. Taylor Hill spun eight strong innings for the win, taking the Friday start in Sonny Gray's absence.
The Henry Rowengartner Hot-Ice Excellence in Pitching Award Goes to...
Grayson Garvin. Garvin made a spot start Tuesday against Austin Peay despite only pitching 5.2 innings out of the bullpen for the 'Dores out of the bullpen prior to this week. Despite his relative inexperience, the tall lefty came through for Vandy, allowing only five baserunners in five shutout innings. Garvin added four strikeouts as opposing batters hit just .250 against him.
The Clu Haywood "How's your wife and my kids?" Destroyer of Pitchers Award Goes to...
Curt Casali. His line against Georgia on Friday: 2-4, 2 runs, 5 RBI, 1 HR, 1 double, 1 walk. Let's hope Casali is finally healthy as the 'Dores head into the most important games of the season.
So, there's your recap. Award winners can pick up their custom-made plaques at the AoG main offices located in the world's first underwater Joe's Crab Shack on 2nd Ave. In all seriousness, our hearts go out to everyone who has been affected by the flooding over the weekend. While I don't live in Nashville right now, my house growing up, where my parents still live, was hit pretty hard by similar flooding back in Rhode Island, earlier this year, so I know how much dealing with flood water sucks and just how little insurance actually covers once you're hit. Hopefully all our Nashville readers are dry.
No weekday games.
at #9 LSU (32-13, 11-10 SEC)