No. 28 Vanderbilt hosts Alabama

Mike Minor (AP/Butch Dill)

The Vanderbilt Commodores hope to continue their recent SEC success when they host the Alabama Crimson Tide for a three-game series. First pitch is tonight at 6 p.m. The game will be webcast at VUCommodores.com. Look inside for complete details.

No. 28 Vanderbilt (23-13, 7-7 SEC)

vs. Alabama (24-12, 7-8 SEC)

 

Friday, April 10 6:00 p.m.

Saturday, April 11 3:00 p.m.

Sunday, April 12 1:00 p.m.

 

 

Broadcast: 560 AM WNSR.

 

Venue: Hawkins Field (3,700); Nashville, Tenn.

 

Series History vs. Alabama

 

Vanderbilt trails 49-71-2 in a series that dates back to 1893. Vanderbilt has lost two of the last three series, winning two games to one in 2007. The Crimson Tide holds a 22-19 record in Nashville against Vanderbilt.

 

The Coaches

 

VU's Tim Corbin is 262-143 in his seventh season in Nashville. He is 368-281 in 13 seasons overall. He is 7-8 against the Crimson Tide.  Alabama's Jim Wells is 612-313 in his 15th season in Tuscaloosa and 804-402 in 20 seasons as a head coach. He is 22-11 against the Commodores.

 

Tentative Pitching Matchups

 

FRIDAY

VU Jr. LHP Mike Minor (3-3, 3.02 ERA) VS. UA Sr. RHP Austin Hyatt (5-1, 3.09 ERA)

 

SATURDAY

VU So. RHP Caleb Cotham (5-3, 4.09 ERA) VS. UA Jr. LHP Del Howell (4-1, 4.03 ERA)

 

SUNDAY

VU TBA VS. Jr. UA RHP Adam Scott (1-1, 4.70 ERA)

 

Scouting Alabama

 

Alabama's rotation will consist of senior right-hander Austin Hyatt (8 GS, 5-1, 3.09 ERA), junior left-hander Del Howell (5 GS, 4-1, 4.0) and junior right-hander Adam Scott (8 G, 3 GS, 1-1, 4.70 ERA).  The trio of starters are a combined 10-3 on the mound this season.Alabama junior third baseman Jake Smith (.387, 13 HR, 35 RBI) is having a career year for the Crimson Tide. The Shannon, Ala., native has hit a career-best 13 home runs this season. Against Samford on Wednesday, Smith became the sixth player in Alabama history and second this season to hit for the cycle. Smith stroked a solo home run in the second inning, singled in the fifth, doubled in seventh and tripled in the eighth. The last player to hit for the cycle was Kent Matthes against Nicholls State on Feb. 24, 2009.

 

The last time Alabama had two cycles in the same season was 1999 when Darren Wood (vs. Southern Miss) and Andy Phillips (vs. Kansas State) turned the trick 14 days apart.

 

Junior Brandon May (.346, 7 HR, 40 RBI) enters the Vanderbilt series with a 12-game hitting streak and seven-game RBI streak, both career highs. During his current streak, May is hitting .446 (21-for-47) with 14 runs scored, five doubles, four home runs and 18 RBI.  He also has 13 RBI during his seven-game RBI streak. His previous best was an 11-game hitting streak from May 10-31, 2008 and a five-game RBI streak from May 16-23, 2008.

 

Junior Clay Jones (.360, 5 HR, 32 RBI) has seven hits and six RBI in his last two games.  Over his last 11 games, Jones is hitting .529 (18-for-34) with nine runs scored, two home runs and 13 RBI. Senior Kent Matthes (.394, 20 HR, 58 RBI) leads the nation in home runs, home runs per game, total bases and slugging percentage and ranks second nationally in RBI.  He has more home runs than 95 Division-I schools and has four fewer home runs than the entire Vanderbilt (24 HRs) roster.

 

Scouting Vanderbilt

 

Vanderbilt, fresh off an impressive SEC series win at Arkansas along with two mid week victories, will pitch left-hander Mike Minor (8 GS, 3-3, 3.02 ERA) and right-hander Caleb Cotham (8 GS, 5-3, 4.09 ERA).  Another right-hander Sonny Gray (13 G, 3-0, 2.11 ERA) is likely in for his first start of the season on Sunday, but with 13 relief appearances he could see action out of the pen in the first two games.  Freshman first baseman Aaron Westlake (.371, 9 2B) has started 34 of 35 regular season games for Vandy.  Designated hitter Curt Casali (.356, 6 HR) leads the Commodores in homers and is second on the team in RBIs with 73.  Freshman Second baseman Riley Reynolds (.350, 10 2B) extended his hit streak to 18 games after coming up with hits in both mid week victories. Right fielder Steven Liddle (.343 14 2B) is second on the team with 5 homers.  

 

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