by Barca Blog - Last year in the NCAA Tempe Regional, head coach Tim Corbin opted to hold Mike Minor, his usual Friday night starter, until the second game of the tournament and instead went with Caleb Cotham in the opening loss to Oklahoma.
I asked Corbin if there would be much debate on how to approach the rotation for the Louisville Regional beginning with Friday's matchup against Middle Tennessee.
"No decision," Corbin stated. "One, two three... it lines right up the way we want it to: Minor, (Sonny) Gray and Cotham."
Corbin used the same pitching order to vault the 'Dores into the SEC Tournament championship game.
He called Minor's complete-game performance against LSU in Hoover last Wednesday "one of the best big-game performances I've seen pitched by anyone."
Gray followed that up by recording career highs in innings pitched (7.0) and strikeouts (11) in the Commodores' win over South Carolina.
Cotham, pitching with a torn meniscus, was perhaps the surprise of the weekend when he made his first start since May 3. The Mt. Juliet native threw the first complete game of his college career in VU's 11-1 trouncing of Arkansas in seven innings.
Opposing lineups could have a tough time facing this talented trio in postseason play, but Corbin did note that his one concern would be Cotham's stamina as he moves back into the starting role after the injury.
"I told him he needs to be Lance Armstrong these next three days," Corbin said. "He's got to get on a bike, and get those legs going and heart going. If we had played that Arkansas game in typical Birmingham, Alabama heat, I don't know if he gets us into the seventh inning.
"I have to credit him because he went out there and managed any type of pain that he had... Now he's got to get the heart rate going and make sure his legs are in good shape because if they're not, he might have a hard time getting through the fifth. And since we're playing on turf, with this (heat), add another 15 degrees."