When the other teams in our Region were announced, I was pretty confident Vandy and IU would be playing each other in the winner's bracket on day 2... and so we are. Indiana made quick work of Radford's supposed high octane offense, as ace lefty Kyle Hart went deep into the game, and was in control the entire time. He went 7 IP, 5 H, 1 R, and, as is his wont, 0 BB. Reliever Thomas Belcher closed it out with 2 IP scoreless.
Indiana's offense didn't come through until the 3rd inning, but came alive in the 4th and 7th with 3 runs apiece, winning 7-1. Sophomore CF Craig Dedelow batted 6th, but paced the Hoosier's O, going 2-4 with a 2 run bomb to right in the 7th to put the game away. However, the team as a whole hit well, going 13-39 in a game that was pretty much over after the 4th inning.
For a more in depth preview of the Indiana Hoosiers, click here.
Vandy tore through an under-matched Lipscomb team 9-1, with Fulmer being Fulmer, and Jeren Kendall continuing his ascendance toward becoming my favorite player whose name doesn't rhyme with Mansby. But you already knew that.
On the Mound Tonight...
Starting pitchers have yet to be announced, but there's no reason we can't play the guessing game now.
My Best Guess...
Vanderbilt: RS Jr. LHP Philip Pfeifer (4-4, 4.06 ERA)
Though Pfeifer stumbled down the stretch run of SEC play - as the conversion from reliever to starter had him hitting a bit of a wall - the fiery lefty is averaging 11.5 K/9 on the season, and he performed admirably (7 IP. 4 H, 1 R, 9 K, 1 BB, 90 pitches) against Alabama last Saturday in Hoover. Further, by starting Fulmer last night, Corbin exemplified the strategy of keeping pitchers on a fixed weekly schedule, and damn the opponent. It's not a strategy that all #1 seeds have employed (see LSU throwing Johnny Wholestaff instead of Lange or Poche against the Lehigh Mountainhawks), but with a pitching staff as deep as ours, it's a strategy that has obvious merits.
As such, I expect Pfeif to get the nod today, for the reasons mentioned, but also because this is IU's likely lineup:
1: Rodrigue - L
2: Ramos - S
3: Hartong - R
4: Donley - L
5: Sowers - R
6: Dedelow - L
7: Cangelosi - R
8: Nolden - L
9: Wilhite - R
Though IU HC Chris Lemonis has intentionally balanced his lineup to avoid being one sided, 3 of his best 4 batters are lefties - Donley (.327/.390/.401), Dedelow (.326/.375/.502), and Rodrigue (.287/.367/.460). In other words, against the top 2 most potent hitters in IU's lineup, and 3 of the top 4, Pfeifer will have the platoon advantage.
As for who Lemonis will counter with? I'll leave that to the info gleaned from our sister SBN site...
In our Q&A with Crimson Quarry, IU writer Alex Robbins thought Hart would be saved for Vandy on Saturday. However, he did write:
But if Hart goes on Friday, you might look for Harrison, Caleb Baragar, or Christian Morris to start against the Commodores.
With that in mind, let's take a closer look at Harrison, Baragar, and Morris.
#28 Sr. RHP Luke Harrison
Stats: 4-1, 1.69 ERA, 24 appearances, 2 starts (last week of conference play and game 2 of the B1G tourney), 10.88 K/9, 2.44 BB/9
#45 Jr. LHP Caleb Baragar
Stats: 1-4, 3.33 ERA, 14 appearances, 11 starts, 7.83 K/9, 3.17 BB/9
#21 Jr. RHP Christian Morris
Stats: 4-1, 5.18 ERA, 15 appearances, 11 starts, 6.62 K/9, 2.35 BB/9
If I had to guess, IU starts Harrison, but has Baragar warming up in the 4th.
However, if they've scouted us deeply, they might just take the chance on Baragar in inning 1.
See you guys later. Feel free to comment with updates when the starters have been officially announced, pertinent scores, etc.