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Black and Gold Series Recap: By the Numbers

It’s a small sample size-palooza!

College World Series - Virginia v Vanderbilt - Game One
The road to Omaha begins now. Err... well, we did play Oklahoma State in two games earlier this fall... so... the road to Omaha began then, but also now.
Photo by Peter Aiken/Getty Images

Opening Caveat: One of the worst things about not living in Nashville is that I have to rely on televised and/or web streaming services to keep up with our beloved Diamond Dores. One of the best things about not living in Nashville is not having my foot run over by several bachelorette party pedal pubs daily, but I digress.

Normally, this is not an issue, as it is the future, and the revolution—pertaining to Vanderbilt baseball, at least—will be televised. Aside from the occasional road game against Lipscomb or some such nonsense, I am able to find a way to watch nearly every inning of Vanderbilt baseball. However, the three game fall intra-squad Black and Gold series is never broadcast, much to my ire. As such, what follows is a robotic, poorly informed, small sample size, statistically insignificant by the numbers analysis of the weekend’s series—likely filled with over-reactions and emotional hyperbole.

Who Has Impressed?

So. RHP Mason Hickman. Hickman took the mound in Game 2 for the Gold team, and was all but un-hittable. 4 and 23 IP, 0 R, 2 H, 1 BB, 5 K, on an economical 69 pitches. If this were a regular season game, he could have gone two more innings, easily. With the arm talent on this team, Hickman must continue to impress to keep his status in the weekend rotation safe. Freshman fireballers such as Kumar “Harold” Rocker (who K’d 7 in 4 IP opposite Hickman, but did let in 2 R) and Austin “Big Walnut” Becker with be nipping at his heels all year, but with performances like this one, expect the veteran to be able to stem the tide.

RS Jr. LHP AJ Franklin. Franklin recorded a three out, 9 pitch, 2 K save in Game 1 to seal the win for the Gold team. He faced the minimum and blew them away. He pitched again late in Game 3, and though his team lost, Franklin K’d 2 in 23 IP.

So. CF Pat DeMarco. DeMarco closed out the series with a 2-4, 1 R, 1 RBI performance from the lead-off spot (a position in the batting order he has to have locked down by now, right?), 1-4 with an RBI 2B in Game 2, and 1-3 in Game 1. As always, DeMarco is steady as she goes.

Jr. RF JJ Bleday. Bleday had a perfect Sunday at the plate (2-2, 2 R, 2 BB, and a 2B), and went 1-3 in Game 2. Though he was hitless in 3 AB in Game 1, no one has ever gotten mad at themselves for going 3-8 on a weekend facing Vanderbilt pitchers. Look for Bleday to shoot up draft boards all season, and stake his claim for the Golden Spikes Award.

The Long Ball. Chicks dig it, and, as such, dug Fr. C Dominic Keegan, So. C Philip Clarke, and So. 3B Jayson Gonzalez in Game 1

Who Started Off Slowly?

The Seniors. Though it was huge to get Sr. 2B Ethan Paul and Sr. OF/Sentient Fire Hydrant Stephen Scott back, neither had a great weekend at the plate. Both went 1-9 at the plate this weekend. Hopefully, that’s just rust knocking off, as they, too, will have underclassmen champing at the bit for their spots in the lineup.

Fr. RHP McKenzie Stills. Though Stills had an impressive summer, he got rocked in his one inning of relief in Game 3. 1 IP, 3 R, 4 H, 1 BB, 1 K.

So. RHP Justin Willis. Though like Stills above, I don’t foresee major innings for Willis this year, his 1 and 13 IP, 2 R, 3 H, 1 BB performance in Game 3 doesn’t exactly inspire a lot of confidence. On the plus side, of the 4 outs recorded, 2 were by K.

Who Will Be The One Freshman I Will Pound The Table For All Year?

3B Justyn-Henry “Ricky-Bobby” Malloy. Though he only went 2-8 on the weekend, one was a double, and damn it, I just love the kid’s swing.