Vanderbilt picked up a huge series win with Sunday's 3-2 victory over the Auburn Tigers. VandyMania…
Vanderbilt Baseball Update
Pitching returned to rock solid status as Taylor Hill and Jack Armstrong both gave the Commodores needed late season form from the mound, going deep into both weekend games. Hill went the distance on the bump and kept LSU scoreless for the first 8 2/3 innings. He finished the game with 2 runs, 7 hits, 8 strikeouts, and 1 walk. This was Hill's first collegiate complete game and it could not have come at a better time as Vanderbilt went deep into the bullpen on Friday. Armstrong not to be outdone went 7 2/3 innings on Sunday and gave up 2 runs, 3 strikeouts, and 2 walks. Coach Tim Corbin has to feel pretty good about his weekend pitching rotation. Sonny Gray has proven that he belongs in the top 3 and 1 bad night does not define his season. Look for him to carry his weight on this pitching staff here in the late season.
Anthony Gomez is still red hot at the plate and went 6 of 13 (.462) for the weekend. Gomez is leading the SEC in batting with a .447 average, .001 ahead of Zach Cox at Arkansas. The race for the SEC batting title is sure to go to the last at bat and should be fun to watch. Sophomore Joe Loftus found his bat in Louisiana and Commodore fans may ask, "Where have you been Joe?" Loftus went 6 of 14 (.429) which will elevate his batting average. He had 7 RBIs on the weekend and was a single away from the cycle on Friday. He hit the game winning 2-out, 2-run single that secured Sunday's win 4-3. Jason Esposito is still swinging the stick well as he went 5 of 12 (.427) for the weekend, and also had 3 stolen bases while flashing some flawless leather at 3rd base. Aaron Westlake is continuing to find his swing and was 5 of 14 (.357) for the weekend. As a team Vanderbilt averaged over 8 runs a game at LSU, the defending national champions.
Vanderbilt pitching and bats may just be coming together for a serious run at tournament time. They will get a pre-tournament test on Tuesday when they face the No. 10 Louisville Cardinals in a rematch of last season's NCCA matchup. Then VU travels to Starkville, Mississippi for a 3-game series with Mississippi State (5-19). From Saturday morning until Sunday night the VU baseball team moved from 8th place in the SEC to their current sixth place. Interestingly, the two teams that are ahead of VU in the SEC standings are Ole Miss and Auburn who are each 15-9 (.625). This weekend, the eighth place UT team travels to the plains to take on Auburn while Ole Miss takes on Alabama in Tuscaloosa. Thus 3 of the SEC's top 8 teams play in the state of Alabama this weekend while Vanderbilt plays the No. 11 team in the SEC. At tournament time, the better your seed, the better your chances to succeed. Will this be a moving weekend for the Commodores?
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