One of the best rivalries in college baseball returns on Tuesday night. #10 Vanderbilt will travel to #2 Louisville in a game that could be a preview of a Super Regional or College World Series matchup.
The Cardinals have a deep pitching staff led by prospective top 10 MLB Draft pick Kyle Funkhouser, and they'll turn to a deep roster of strong arms to keep Vandy's big bats at bay tonight. The Commodores, on the other hand, will be looking for an affirming victory after snatching defeat from a Florida team that should have been dead several times over last weekend. The winner will get to take home the Bourbon Barrel trophy that reflects on the greatest product either state produces. Louisville currently holds the barrel after beating Vandy 11-7 last season.
Vanderbilt leads the all-time series against the Cardinals 21-7, but those losses have come at a huge price. Since 2009, Louisville has been responsible for ending Vandy's season two times - once in Regional play and once in a Super Regional. The two teams have met in the postseason four times since then, and every game but one took place miles from the Bourbon Trail in Kentucky. The exception? A 5-3 Vanderbilt win in Omaha that propelled the 'Dores to their first-ever National Championship.
Tonight's game gets started at 5pm CST. You can watch the action on ESPN3. And, as always, you can curse out our geographic, but not conference, rivals in the comments below.
Tonight's Starters: Louisville's RHP Chad Green (3-0, 2.25) vs. Vanderbilt's LHP Kevin Ziomek (3-6, 5.46). #BattleOfTheBarrel— Louisville Baseball (@UofLBaseball) May 8, 2012
Wait, that can't be right... There's no update on tonight's starters yet, but here's who you can probably expect to see tonight:
Vanderbilt: Tyler Ferguson (0-1, 6.11 ERA, 21 Ks in 17.2 innings)
and John Kilichowski (2-3, 3.60, 51-50)
and Ryan Johnson (4-0, 1.94, 26-44.2)
Louisville: Kade McClure (1-0, 3.08, 30-26.1)
and Sean LeLand (4-0, 1.22, 30-37)
*Starting Pitching/Lineup Update from Andrew VU '04:
LHP Ryan Johnson will be on the hill for the Dores.
Jason Delay is catching and Nolan Rogers is playing 2nd base. Will Toffey is now batting 5th, dropping Bryan Reynolds one spot in the order. That is all.