Always good to be in the winner’s bracket. It’s important to win today, as well, as doing so will give our arms the day off tomorrow. There’s a reason the top 4 seeds normally win the SEC tourney, as having to play on Day One guarantees you’ll need an extra game worth of pitchers. Then, even if you get past Day One, losing on Days Two or Three means yet another extra game worth of pitchers. In short, if you’re a 1-4 seed and never lose, you can win the tourney in 4 games (Wednesday, Thursday, Saturday, and Sunday). On the flip side, if you are a 5-12 seed who wins on Day One, but loses on either Day Two or Three, you would have to play in 6 games (winning 5) for the crown.
How many college teams have the pitching depth to play in 6 games over 6 days? Further, how many of those teams could win when going against an opponent who has either their mid-week starter or Sunday starter (depending on who threw on Wednesday), and two games fewer bullpen appearances?
So yeah, let’s win this one if we want to win the SEC tourney. We’re already down our #1 starter (Holton) due to injury, and Hunter Owen is likely to be on a 60 pitch restriction if and when he pitches this week. If we do go onto take the crown, it will be because we only had to use two pitchers last night (hat tip to Hliboki and Reilly), won tonight, and bought ourselves a day of rest.
I won’t do as long a preview as I wrote yesterday about the War Tigers, as we played the Jorts two weeks ago. For the longer preview on the Jorts from two weeks back, click here.
‘23 Record: 43-13 (20-10 SEC).
As you know, they swept us, and then took 2 of 3 from The Wedding Jerseys to close out the SEC season as the #1 seed in the East. As you also know, they walked off Bama in extras with a Riot Bell Grand Salami last night.
They are good, and other than Auburn, have been the hottest team in the SEC.
Of course, you saw what we did to Auburn last night.
Player to Watch: Just like last time, I’ll go with the guy expected to be taken in the top 3 overall picks in this year’s MLB Draft—#36 Jr. OF Wyatt “Brave Warrior who lives near the Long Ford” Langford (.395/.524/.814 with 20 2B, 3 3B, 16 HR, and 41 RBI). I could also have profiled Jacky Cags and his 28 dongers (see below), Josh Rivera and his .364 average, or their catcher, The Riot Bell, who always seems to hurt us, and walked off The Gumps last night in extras. Just like I said two weeks ago, their offense is freaking loaded.
Anchor of Gold Tiger Beat Hottest Pitcher: #14 So. LHP/1B Jac “Jacky Cags” Caglianone (6-2; 3.96 ERA; 10.4 K/9). Yeah... in those two weeks, he’s won 2 games and dropped his ERA by about a full run. Even his K/9 went up by a little (from 10.2 to 10.4). Shit.
On the Mound
Thursday @ 8:00pm CT [Editor’s Note: No.] on SEC Network
#33 Vanderbilt Jr. LHP Hunter “Mr. Manager” Owen (4-0; 3.16 ERA)
vs. #8 Jorts So. RHP Brandon “Little Sprout” Sproat (7-3; 4.85 ERA)
Here's how we're lining up for tonight's matchup. #VandyBoys | #AnchorDown pic.twitter.com/cYgz2XOjGB— Vanderbilt Baseball (@VandyBoys) May 26, 2023
See you in the comments.