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Series Preview: Vanderbilt Welcomes Illinois State to The Hawk

If you know more about Illinois State than that Kevin Stallings used to coach there, you are definitely an alum.

Vanderbilt v Texas
We miss you, Kevin.
Photo by Chris Covatta/Getty Images

Interesting Facts About Illinois State

  1. David Foster Wallace taught there while writing Infinite Jest.
  2. Kevin Stallings developed his trademark whistle whilst trying to get the attention of a hot dog man at Redbird Arena.
  3. Their athletic website is “Gored”—which is, frankly, the best and most disturbing name for a rotisserie chicken restaurant, and now I am obsessed with it, and will soon be quitting this interwebs baseball pontificator job to open franchises in our nation’s dying malls.

Would you look at that? I did know more than one thing about Illinois State.

This weekend is the last series before conference play, and the weekend Tim Corbin picks up his 800th win (yes, I know he’s 2 away, but I am just that confident). Next week we begin the grind against the aTm Fightin’ Grode Jars. This weekend we gore some birds.

The Fightin’ Stallingses are 7-3 on the season, with all their games thus far on the road. There is a long-winded “plight of the northern college baseball team” article in here somewhere, but I’ll be damned if I’m writing it now. Thus far, they have swept Belmont, split a four game series with Central Arkansas, and taken two of three from Murray State.

In short, they have performed admirably against mid-major teams, but are about to enter a world of pain. As a team, they’ve hit .299/.404/.409 and, as those high OBP, low slugging numbers show, they’re a team built on speed.

Well, the 24 of 29 stolen bases shows that, too, but I wanted you to think, “Wait... how does he know that from those numbers???” for a while.

They currently have 7 players batting .325 or higher, but it’s pretty much all singles. Seriously, they have 4 HR as a team. That’s 80% of one Bleday. They have 17 2Bs and 6 3Bs, which does not support my narrative as well, so ignore that part (by comparison, we’re at 28 and 7, respectively, but have played 3 more games, and have better players).

Their starting pitching has been superb thus far (see below), but those numbers are about to run into the buzzsaw that is Vanderbilt’s lineup. Their relief pitching has been generally fine, as well. In fact, they currently have five relievers who have yet to let up a run. One has to imagine these five have been teasing Fr. RHP Bryce Konitzer relentlessly, as his ERA is currently an infinite loop.

I’m sure Davidson’s pitching numbers looked perfectly cromulent, as well, until they came to The Hawk and were sentenced to death by obliteration.

On the Mound

Friday 4:30pm CT SECN+: Jr. RHP Drake “Safari Planet” Fellows (2-0, 5.06 ERA) vs. Jr. LHP Brent “Rick Head” Headrick (1-0, 3.63 ERA)

Saturday 2pm CT SECN+: Sr. RHP Patrick “Mad Dog” Raby (2-0, 0.57 ERA) vs. Sr. RHP Jeff “The Funnel” Lindgren (2-0, 2.50 ERA)

Sunday 1pm CT SECN+: TBA vs. Jr. LHP Matt “Firestone” Walker (1-1, 1.29 ERA)

Safari Planet on Friday was a given, as was Mad Dog on Saturday. As for Sunday, I’m getting out of the prediction business. It has been Kumar Rocker, Mason Hickman, and Zach King thus far. It could be Brandon Barca in a hot dog costume, as far as I know.

If you squint at it hard enough, it appears to be J. Walter Weatherman wearing a baseball cap, admonishing a traumatized young Michael Bluth for not choking up with two strikes.

...and that’s why you always leave a note.

The Lineup

Infante back at first; Davis back from his day of rest; Gonzalez in for Ray at 3rd; Scott to DH. It’s the RH power lineup against the lefty on the mound, ladies and gentlemen.

*Looks Closer*

Wait. No Austin “Bond Car” Martin??? Huwah???

See you in the comments.