Vanderbilt is 1-0 in the SEC, despite two errors, and 6 BBs and a HBP from the Ace starting pitcher. Of course, you expect the get a little sloppy when you go aTm.
*Note: I am not proud of myself for that.
**Note: The previous note is a damned lie.
On The Mound
Fellows gave the fans in Blue Bell Park plenty of ammo for their “Ball five, ball six, etc.” chants. To be honest, I’m not mad at them. Unlike the inanity of old men whistling, the all stadium wildness chants do seem effective. At many points, Fellows appeared in his own head, as he tried to force himself to throw strikes so as to avoid a rousing public shaming. As the man who led many a “Walsh, you suck!” chant in the early 00s in Memorial Gym, I can respect that.
*Note to Walsh: You suck.
The bubbles? That’s just stupid.
Back to pitching: We need to remember that the Safari Planet ride is not without its bumps, but is overall effective. The Drake’s first inning was... suboptimal. That only one run scored around his 4 walks was nothing short of miraculous. However, after the chant-filled first, Fellows largely settled down and had quick, effective innings. His final line of 5 and 2⁄3 IP, 3 H, 2 R, 4 K, 6 BB, 1 HBP, 1 WP on 97 total pitches may have filled up a stat sheet in the wrong way, but, honestly, he was just one out away from a quality start.
Nope. Not going to sugarcoat it. It was not what you want from your ace.
Hugh Fisher relieved Fellows in the 6th, and was ineffective, as well, giving up 1 H, 2 R, and 1 BB while recording only 2 outs—a 24 pitch mess of missed spots, deep counts, and nervous body language.
Thankfully, Tyler Brown’s season of putting out fires continues, as he finished things up, going 2 and 2⁄3 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 0 BB, and 4 k, picking up his 3rd save in the process. He was throwing darts, hitting the mitt with precision, and working quickly. It was, frankly, a joy to watch.
Side note: I really like what Corbs and Brownie have done with this frighteningly deep bullpen. Through 18 games (15 wins), 6 different pitchers have earned a save, with many of them of the “three inning save” variety. It’s an intelligent way to get our stable of big arms enough work, while keeping their arms stretched out enough to start (if need be). With Brown and Eder (and their .77 and .65 WHIPs, respectively) looming, teams know Vanderbilt only needs to keep a lead through 6, and it’s over. This will serve the team well in tourney play, as starters are often tired and pitching on short rest.
At The Plate
Austin Martin returned, but moved to third base. In his first at bat, he lined a one out single to CF, swiped a bag, and was driven in by a HitDMC single in the 6 hole.
Perhaps more importantly, we finally learned why he served a four game suspension:
I guess we have the reason Austin Martin missed the last few games for #Vandy. Tim Corbin said after the game Martin is a great kid and everything will be fine as long as he shows up on time to class. Corbs said that with a slight smile.— Kendall Rogers (@KendallRogers) March 16, 2019
In an age of Aunt Becky paying half a mil to get her vapid Instagram Influencer daughters into USC, and Will Wade buying players, can we all take a minute to appreciate how lucky we are to have Tim Corbin? Sure, he’s as tight-lipped as a man sucking a sack of lemons, but he benched the best hitter in the SEC for four games for being late to class. He is the Captain Planet of fathers/coaches/mentors, and his five powers are Ethics, Heart, Being a Living Example, Fair Competition, and Bunting (in this version, Bunting has the pet monkey).
Speaking of bunting, sweet sassy molassy, the Vanderbunt returned with a vengeance!!! In the 6th inning, clinging to a 2-1 lead, with Chinfante on 3rd and Ray on 2nd, our leadoff hitter extraordinaire Cooper “The Ontario Barrel-Maker” Davis dropped a 2 strike squeeze so nasty, it plated both runners, and caused every last pearl in College Station to be violently clutched.
There’s the safety squeeze and the suicide squeeze, but neither of those terms are savage enough for what went down last night. No, that squeezed so hard, it ripped the collective throats of College Station right out.
Yes, my friends. That was the Swayze Squeeze. And the juice was worth it.
Then some other things happened and we won 7-4 and blah blah blah...
*Note: That, my friends, is how you bury a lede.
See you this afternoon for round two.