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Late Inning Rebel Rallies Cost Commodores First Series Loss

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The Commodores took their first series loss against Ole Miss, which says a lot more about the Rebels than it does about Vanderbilt.

Bruce Thorson-USA TODAY Sports

Ole Miss Rebels rallied late in two games after being shut out spectacularly by Carson Fulmer, and unfortunately, took the wins to give Vanderbilt their first series loss.

GAME ONE: Vanderbilt 6, Ole Miss 0

Thursday, April 9, 2015

Dansby Swanson started the scoring for the Commodores with a solo home run, his sixth of the season, with two outs in the bottom of the first. Ro Coleman singled in the second inning to score a run and bring the Commodores up 2-0. Bryan Reynolds kept it going in the third with a solo blast to left field with two outs to make it 3-0.

Carson Fulmer pitched a gem through the fourth when he allowed a single hit and a couple errors for the runner to reach third, but got out of the inning unscathed. The bottom of the fourth went uneventful but the fifth inning saw a Rhett Wiseman home run (his 7th of the year) to make the score 4-0. Bryan Reynolds then reached base on an error, attempted to steal second where a throwing error allowed him to reach third. A hard hit ball up the middle by Toffey scored Reynolds and the Commodores led 5-0.

After the 7th inning stretch, Swanson reached base and was ran in by a Bryan Reynolds double after an intentional walk to Zander Wiel. With only one out, the Commodores had two in scoring position and Will Toffey up to bat as the Rebels saw a pitching change. The change worked as Toffey popped up and Karl Ellison got out to end the frame.

Fulmer punched out career-high 14 batters in a complete game two-hit shutout against the Rebels, winning 6-0. SPOILER ALERT: Fulmer earned Pitcher of the Week.

GAME TWO: Ole Miss 6, Vanderbilt 5 (16)

Friday, April 10, 2015

Friday’s game was a long one, but every game played on Friday seemed to go into absurd amounts of extra innings. It was apparently Vanderbilt’s longest game since 2010, going 16 innings and lasting over five hours. But the Commodores couldn’t capitalize in the later innings and lost the contest to a two-out run in the top of the 16th. The Commodores couldn’t come out in the bottom half and lost 6-5.

Walker Buehler pitched eight amazing innings, with the Commodores leading 5-1 going into the ninth before giving way to Philip Pfeifer. Pfeifer couldn’t find the strike zone, however, and allowed the Rebels to tie up the ballgame with four runs on two hits and five walks. Five. Walks. It seems Pfeifer pitches best behind Fulmer.

GAME THREE: Ole Miss 5, Vanderbilt 4

Saturday, April 11, 2015

The Commodores scored in each of the first three innings but the Rebels matched it in the second with three runs. Vanderbilt retook the lead in the sixth inning with a run scored thanks to a Tyler Campbell sacrifice fly. But Tyler Ferguson, who came in to relieve Ryan Johnson who came in to relieve Jordan Sheffield, took the loss after allowing two runs in the seventh. Vanderbilt scored four runs on eight hits but unfortunately, Ole Miss scored five runs on 10 hits.

It was the first series loss of the season and it was a hard one to take.

But...

Overall...

You shouldn’t count out Ole Miss for this series win. Despite their record, they’re a good ballclub. They usually are.

Friday night saw three home runs by three different players, and one of the best-pitched college games most fans have ever seen. Fulmer broke his own records and created new highs for himself, and continues to push himself each game.

Saturday and Sunday were hard-fought but lost simply on pitching. That’s not usual for Vanderbilt, but pitching has been more of a cause for loss than our offense. That being said, we have pretty strong and consistent pitching, so if pitching is our biggest problem, I’m okay with that.

Unfortunately, my previous postings appear to be right. Losing one game in a series Vanderbilt should have swept, like against Auburn and Tennessee, has proven to be a shortcoming for the Commodores. As I said before, I don’t see how Vanderbilt will win a series against South Carolina, or say, Ole Miss, if we’re dropping easy games against teams we should sweep.

It was a tough series loss but you can’t win ‘em all. I’m sure I’ll get the statistics in the comment section, but Vanderbilt is a national championship team and the Commodores deserve a repeat. I still believe that.

Pitcher of the Week: Carson Fulmer

He pitched a major league game in my opinion. Is there anything more to say?

Player of the Week: Wiseman, Swanson and Reynolds

With the series loss, it’s difficult to pick out a standout player that changed the game. So instead, I chose the three most fun to watch. These were the three home run hitters in Friday night’s Most-Entertaining Game of the season (so far).

Coming up...

Vanderbilt plays a contest against Belmont on Tuesday, April 14, before going on the road to take on South Carolina. It’s another series that starts a day early, with Thursday’s game starting at 6:30, Friday’s game starting at 6 pm, and Saturday’s game starting at 12 noon. All times central. Thursday’s game will be televised on ESPNU, Friday’s game on SEC Network and Saturday’s game on ESPN2.