Friday, February 27, 2009

More notes after the 7-2 win over Vermont

By Barca Blog - Some notes and quotes I put together following Vanderbilt's 7-2 win over Vermont in the series opener.

Lefties make it happen

The story of the night was the success of Vanderbilt's lefthanded hitters against Vermont Friday night. The Commodores collected 13 hits in the 7-2 win with Steven Liddle, Riley Reynolds and Aaron Westlake combining to go a perfect 11-for-11 from the plate. Not an easy task when you're facing a crafty southpaw veteran like Joe Serafin, who won Pitcher of the Year in the American East conference last year.

"The lefties had great games tonight," Vanderbilt head coach Tim Corbin said. "You had guys hitting .221 off Serafin last year with lefties hitting considerably less, so we send a bunch of lefties up there and they got all of our hits. Reynolds pounded the six-hole, Liddle kept spraying the ball all the way around, and Westlake used the other side of the field. I thought it was the best job of hitting the ball the other way that we've done this year."

Liddle finished with a career-best four RBI on a single, double, and triple, while Reynolds and Westlake added four hits apiece. Corbin praised Reynolds' performance and talked about what he brings to this ballclub.

"(Riley) just knows his ability," Corbin said of the 6-1, 180 pound freshman. "He knows who he is which I think is so important for a young kid. He doesn't try to do anything more than just put the bat on the ball and let the pitcher do the work for him and he does. He's a good player. I like him out there. You almost wouldn't notice him because he doesn't say "Boo" but you notice him when he's out there playing. He's a pretty good number nine-hole hitter."

Picked off

Corbin wanted to be aggressive on the basepaths against Serafin and the Catamounts, but was concerned with the team being picked off twice on the night.

"I worry about pickoffs. As I tell the guys you have 27 dollars to spend, that's 27 outs, you just don't want to throw your dollars away. You want to use them wisely. If the other team gives you more money to spend, use it, but you can't use your money on pickoffs and things like that. It's just throwing money away."

Lots to still play for

The big news surrounding Vermont's arrival in Nashville was that its athletic department announced last week it would discontinue the baseball program at the end of the season due to the current financial crisis. You have to think the Catamounts had a lot on their minds when they took the field for their first game tonight.

"These kids have nothing to lose," Corbin commented. "They're going to lose their whole program. All of these kids will be at a different school next year so they're just playing for their life."

The announcement runs close to Corbin, who has a personal tie to Vermont head coach Bill Currier. Both are proteges of former Vermont/current Clemson coach Jack Leggett.

"He played for Jack (Leggett) at Vermont. I've know Billy because of Jack, and he's a very good friend of mine and I respect him a lot. He was a heck of a player. If you read (the book) Moneyball, there's a whole chapter on him, because he was a big, tall lefthanded hitter who got drafted high out of Vermont. He does a nice job with his kids and they've probably got a chance to win that American East conference when it's all said and done."

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