The Commodores topped off another SEC sweep over Georgia this past weekend and did so with flare. Friday and Saturday match-ups were high-scoring games for both teams, while Sunday resembled a slightly more familiar final score. Although when you score 9 and 11 runs in a baseball game you expect them to be blowouts, UGA managed to pull 7 runs to counter in each of the first two games and keep things interesting.
GAME ONE: Vanderbilt 9, Georgia 7
April 3, 2015
Each of Vanderbilt’s nine runs scored came with two-outs in the series opener against Georgia. Carson Fulmer appeared back in his usual form going six innings and striking out seven batters, however he did allow five earned runs. Pfiefer came in to save the game, allowing only two more runs with six strikeouts. I don’t know about anyone else, but I think Fulmer and Pfiefer are a deadly duo on the mound and they pitch their best together.
Vanderbilt jumped on the ball early with three runs in the first and two in the second, while Georgia only scored twice in the second inning. After tallying four more runs in the fifth and sixth innings for Vanderbilt, it appeared Georgia was up for a rally as they score three in the sixth and two in the seventh. They couldn’t overcome the Commodores’ total of nine runs, however, and the offense proved prominent early on.
Dansby Swanson had three hits in three at-bats with three runs scored and three runs batted in. He reached base a total of five times (two walks, but I didn’t want that to ruin all the three’s I mentioned earlier). To anyone wondering, on Friday night, Dansby could be considered perfect.
GAME TWO: Vanderbilt 11, Georgia 7
April 4, 2015
The offense had a late start to game two but proved to overwhelm the Bulldogs in the later innings. Vanderbilt got behind early this time, with Buehler starting and allowing a run in the second and two runs in the third. He settled down, however, and the Commodores backed him up with four runs in the fifth and two in the sixth. The Dores scored heavily in the seventh inning to put the lead at 10-3 and Buehler struggled to record an out in the bottom half of the inning, allowing one run before giving way to Ryan Johnson. Johnson let up three more runs in the eighth but then Bowden came in to close out the game, allowing only one hit the rest of the game.
The Bulldogs couldn’t topple the 11-7 lead and the Commodores took the series on Saturday. Coleman, Wiseman, Swanson, Wiel and Reynolds each contribtued with two runs scored and Wiseman and Wiel had two hits a piece. It was a team effort to collaborate 11 runs and take over the Bulldogs, and Wiseman hit his sixth home run of the year.
GAME THREE: Vanderbilt 4, Georgia 2
April 5, 2015
Easter Sunday saw a sweep for the Commodores, although it didn’t look that way from the start. Vanderbilt’s offense seemed tired after scoring 20 runs in its previous two games. The game was scoreless the first three innings before the Commodores scored the first run in the fourth. Georgia scored two in the fifth, off of starter Jordan Sheffield who had pitched splendidly up until that point. Sheffield left the game after five innings allowing only two runs on three hits, but walking six.
Kyle Wright replaced him and picked up the win as the Dores offense didn’t shine again until the seventh inning. Nolan Rogers and Ro Coleman put up the last three numbers on the board to give the Commodores a 4-2 lead.
Phil Pfiefer came in for relief in the eighth inning as the Bulldogs tried to rally back and put the tying runs on base. He pitched the last five outs almost flawlessly, allowing only one walk, to save the game and the sweep for the Commodores.
It was a sweep that should have been a sweep. After the last two series that should also have been swept, this was needed going into the upcoming games against Ole Miss and South Carolina. Those two won’t be easy series and they’ll prove to test Vanderbilt’s National Championship stride. The rest of the season doesn’t look too easy for the Commodores but with the way the team played this weekend, there is no confidence lost.
(That being said, there has been some discussion on my disappointment of not sweeping the last two series. To clarify, I was not saying that winning two out of three baseball games isn’t a significant accomplishment. When I wrote about not being able to sweep teams like Auburn and Tennessee, I meant in perspective to the entire season and in comparison to much tougher teams like South Carolina. Winning every conference series is a very desirable achievement, whether they’re sweeps or not.)
Pitcher of the Week: Philip Pfiefer
The guy had two saves and pitched spectacularly all weekend. It’s good to see him back in full form and picking up the saves. It’s also good to see him back behind Fulmer. Pfiefer has shown he can step up to any occasion and pick up after lost guys, and that is a resiliency and consistent manner the Commodores need this season.
Player of the Week: Dansby Swanson
Dans is the man. He was perfect on Friday and contributed even more on Saturday. While his Sunday numbers were slightly quiet, he still garnered two walks and some good at-bats. The entire offense was stellar this weekend, but Dansby’s numbers jumped out at me more than anyone else’s.
The Commodores play at home again on Tuesday, April 7th, taking on Lipscomb at 6:30. After that, they host the Ole Miss Rebels this weekend, with the series starting on Thursday, April 9th. Thursday’s and Friday’s games will begin at 6:30, while Saturday’s game will begin at 2 pm.