Last we faced Radford, on June 1st, 2015, in the Nashville Regional Finals, we pounded them into a jelly.
Seriously. 21-0 in a game between the #1 and #2 seeds in the region that determined who would advance to Supers. Better yet, it was 20-0 before the 5th inning was over. Every starter had at least one hit, and Zander Wiel went into full Awesome X mode - going 4-6 with 6 RBI, and finishing one double short of the cycle. Walker Buehler went an easy 5 innings of shut-out, 2 hit, 7 K ball. It was short, it was brutal, and I loved every minute of it.
Since last year's curb-stomping, Radford has yet to recover, going 2-9 on the 2016 season, being pummeled by the likes of Mercer, Georgia Southern, and Hartford. When you're losing 2 out of 3 to the Whalers - a defunct hockey team that moved decades ago - you know you're having a rough year. Mercer is actually pretty good, and should be a tournament #1 or 2 seed, but still.
Sure, our team is different than last year's team, but despite losing mashers like Dansby the Mansby Swanson, Rhett Wiseman, and Zander Wiel, our lineup is producing at a monstrous rate, averaging a whopping 8.64 runs per game. Expect that to continue tonight and tomorrow, and cause Radford to fire the man responsible for scheduling them on a willful trip into the wood-chipper.
If they ever come back, expect the players to revolt. In fact, I can only imagine the only way they agreed to honor this year's schedule was that we made the concession to pay for their psychiatry bills. Which. Were. Legion.
Either way, we don't have a clue who Radford will send to the mound, but expect the Vandy starters to be the following:
Tuesday March 8th, 4pm CT SECN+
Vanderbilt: Fr. RHP Chandler "Day Man" Day (1-0, 4.50 ERA), 13.5 K/9.
Video Representation of what Day Man will do to the Radford Lineup:
Wednesday March 9th, 4pm CT SECN+
Vanderbilt: Fr. RHP Patrick "Mad Dog" Raby (1-0, 1.93 ERA), 13.5 K/9.
You read that correctly: both of our freshman mid-week starters have an identical 13.5 K/9 rate... which is just... just bad news for the Radford University Men-in-Kilts.
Who to Look Out For:
#7 Danny Hrbek
Hrbek - who just has to be related to former Minnesota Twin Kent Hrbek, right? - is the only Radford Man-in-Kilt who's decided to show up for the 2016 season thus far. The junior from Effort, PA (I know, right?) is batting .395/.452/.526 with 2 doubles and one HR. If you want to know how bad Radford has been offensively thus far, I need only point you to the fact that Hrbek, though he's sniffing .400, has only managed to drive in 2 runs this year. Oof. Shane Johnsonbaugh - which is, oddly enough, an actual human's last name, and not the result of me spilling bourbon on the keyboard - is leading the Kiltmen with 3 HR, but even he has only managed 5 RBI, and is hitting a comical .167.
Who They'll Throw At Us:
Who knows? My best guess is Ross Austin (0-2, 7.27 ERA) and Tyler "BEES!!!" Swarmer (0-0, 3.68 ERA), as they started Nelson, Ridgely, and Mackeith against Hartford.
Austin is a 6'1" 180lb Jr. RHP from Beaver, PA - and yes, he's heard all the jokes before. Side note, my 8th grade math teacher went to Beaver College (before they changed their name to Arcadia) and you better believe 8th grade me made sure she heard all the jokes, as well.
BEES!!! is a 6'0" 180lb Sr. LHP from Leechburg, PA - town motto: OH GOD, GET THEM OFF ME! GET THEM OFF ME!!! - who fits the profile of the soft-tossing lefty we always seem to struggle against. Let's not do that this time.
See you in the comments, as this will serve as the game thread for game 1 (this afternoon at 4pm on SECN+).
Let's trigger their PTSD early and often.