You know you’ve been pummeling teams when an 8-2 win feels like a nail biter. Though Drake “Safari Planet” Fellows did not have his best stuff last night, he was, as always, a bulldog of a competitor.
The Planet gave up a run in the top of the 1st. Dominic “The Calzone” Canzone led off with a single, a bobble by Scott allowed The Calzone to advance to 2nd, a ground out by Matt Carpenter advanced the runner to 3rd, and Dillon “Dirk” Dingler plated The Calzone with an RBI single.
As has been the case all season, Vanderbilt’s bats picked Fellows up immediately, as both Austin Martin (leadoff single up the middle) and JJ Bleday (ground rule 2B) came around to score on a Chili P ground out RBI and a Runs-Batted-In-DMC single.
In the top of the 2nd, Fellows gave up a monster shot to Connor Pohl to tie things up. However, the boys would pick him up yet again, with 2 more runs in the bottom of the 2nd, punctuated by Julian “Chinfante” Infante taking out his boom stick.
King Julian with the statement stomp. #VandyBoys pic.twitter.com/43QfgmGVGM— Vanderbilt Baseball (@VandyBoys) June 1, 2019
Fellows would settle in after that, and allow only 4 H and 0 R from there on out for a final line of 9 IP, 7 H, 2 R, 2 BB, 9 K, 1 WP, an a 116 pitch complete game win.
Of course, the other Nashville Regional game was an actual nail biter, as Indiana State hung on like grim death to preserve a one run lead from the 6th inning on. They defeated McNeese State 6-5, but burned through both their ace and their closer to do so.
For all information on Indiana State, click here for the “Better Know a Regional Opponent” preview I wrote earlier this week. In the aforementioned linked article, I assumed they would use Friday starter Triston “Shandy” Polley (7-1, 2.53 ERA), a senior soft-tossing lefty, in game one. That they did, and that they won, is not exactly a shocking development. What helps us in game two, however, is that The Fightin’ Larry Bird’s Ridiculous Moustaches will not have their best arm in the pen, closer Tyler “Shower, Not A“ Grauer (2-3, 1.93 ERA, 9 saves, and a more than cromulent 11.57 K/9 rate). In fact, Grauer may not be able to be used for the rest of the regional, as he went 4 IP and threw 65 pitches.
Nashville Regional Winners Bracket
#1 Vanderbilt (1-0) vs. #2 Indiana State (1-0) Saturday June 1st, 6pm CT, ESPN3
Likely Pitching Matchup
Vanderbilt will send right-hander @_KumarRocker to the mound vs. Indiana State. First pitch at 6 p.m.#RoadToOmaha | #VandyBoys pic.twitter.com/CUiqvcTkiY— Vanderbilt Baseball (@VandyBoys) June 1, 2019
Vanderbilt Fr. RHP Kumar “White Castle” Rocker (8-5, 4.14 ERA)
vs. Indiana State RS Jr. RHP Collin “The Liberator” Liberatore (10-1, 2.78 ERA)
As commenter Parlagi pointed out in the “Better Know a Regional Opponent” article on the Sycamores:
Collin Liberatore definitely sounds like one of Simon Bolivar’s generals
He’s got a whole “tale of two seasons” thing going. He was phenomenal early on, but it almost looks like he’s out of steam.
If he has his act back together, ISU can make it interesting. If the gas can from those last three games shows up, things might get real ugly.
Posted by parlagi on May 29, 2019 | 11:33 AM reply unrec (7)
*Note: There was a clean, ordered table within that comment that I cannot get to load here, so I’mma replicate that information below in a less than elegant manner.
As per Parlagi’s stat table, from March 31st to May 4th (Cinco de Cuatro), The Liberator was dominant. He averaged 8 IP in 6 games, with an 0.75 ERA, 0.729 WHIP, and 0 HR.
In his last three starts, though, Liberatore has been more like El Matador. He averaged 5.66 IP in 3 games, with a 7.41 ERA, 1.765 WHIP, and 5 HR.
Of course, our freshman righty, Kumar Rocker, has gotten stronger and more confident as the year progressed, and looks like a true ace right now.
In his SEC Tourney semi-final start against the ever-dangerous bats of the LSU Bengal Batsmen, Rocker went 5 IP, 5 H, 1 R, 1 BB, 2 K in 82 pitches. Had we not been up 7-1 at the time, he would have been back on the mound in the 6th.
Tonight, Kumar takes us to White Castle.