Sunday, May 31, 2009

Audio: Post-UL press conference

by Barca Blog - Listen to head coach Tim Corbin, pitcher Nick Christiani and shortstop Brian Harris talk to the press following the Commodores' 8-4 win over Louisville Sunday. Click Here for Audio

FINAL: Vanderbilt 8, Louisville 4

By Travis Young - The Commodores defeated top-seeded Louisville 8-4 Sunday night at Jim Patterson Stadium at the third day of the NCAA Regionals. Click here for the official post game coverage from Vanderbilt's 8-4 win over Louisville Sunday.

Vanderbilt advances to play Louisville in tomorrow (Monday) night's Regional final at 6 p.m. CT. Stay tuned to and the official Road Blog for all your Vanderbilt storylines.

IN PROGRESS: Vanderbilt vs. Louisville

By Travis Young - The Commodores are currently leading the No. 1 seeded Louisville Cardinals 8-3 in the top of the eighth inning in the third day of the NCAA Louisville Regional. Click here to follow the action.

Sunday Lineup vs. Louisville

by Travis Young - Here is the lineup for tonight's game against top-seeded Louisville. The game will start at 6 p.m. CT.

1. Brian Harris SS
2. Jonathan White CF
3. Curt Casali 1B
4. Steven Liddle RF
5. Andrew Giobbi C
6. Aaron Westlake DH
7. Joe Loftus LF
8. Jason Esposito 3B
8. Riley Reynolds 2B
SP: Nick Christiani (5-6, 5.05 ERA)

Weather: Sunny, 80 degrees.Winds blowing from the northeast at 4 mph.

Louisville will send lefthander Bob Revesz (4-1, 4.08 ERA) to the hill tonight to face the Commodores. Revesz is not your prototypical power southpaw as he has 26 strikeouts in 57.1 innings of work this season. He is allowing an average of over one hit per inning while opponents are hitting .284 off him.

Vanderbilt has seen Revesz once already this season as he started against the Commodores on April 22. In the start against the Commodores, VU tagged Revesz for six hits and two runs in 4.2 innings of work. Revesz struck out three Commodores in the no decision start.

The Commodores rallied to defeat Louisville 4-3 in its only meeting between the two schools this season.

Vanderbilt will counter with Nick Christiani. The senior righthander allowed three runs, four hits and one walk against LSU in the SEC Tournament championship on May 24.

Fans can follow all of Sunday night's action at by clicking here.

Audio: Post-MTSU press conference

by Barca Blog - Listen to head coach Tim Corbin,and pitcher Caleb Cotham talk to the press following the Commodores' 6-0 win over Middle Tennessee Sunday. Click Here for Audio

FINAL: Vanderbilt 6, MTSU 0

The Commodores defeated MTSU 6-0 Sunday in a elimination game at the third day of the NCAA Regionals. Stay tuned to for up-to-the-minute post game information from Vanderbilt's win over MTSU Sunday.

Vanderbilt advances to play Louisville tonight at 6 p.m. CT. The Commodores will have to beat the Cardinals twice (tonight and on Monday) in order to claim the Louisville Regional.

IN PROGRESS: Vanderbilt vs. MTSU

The Commodores and Blue Raiders are underway in an elimination game on the third day of the NCAA Louisville Regional. Click here to follow the action on

Sunday Lineup vs. Middle Tennessee

by Travis Young - Here is the lineup for today's elimination game against Middle Tennessee at the Louisville Regional. A couple changes in today’s lineup due to MTSU throwing righthander Chad Edwards. It marks the first time since the SEC Tournament that Vanderbilt will face a righthanded starter.

1. Brian Harris SS
2. Jonathan White CF
3. Steven Liddle RF
4. Curt Casali 1B
5. Aaron Westlake DH
6. Andrew Giobbi C
7. Jason Esposito 3B
8. Riley Reynolds 2B
9. Joe Loftus LF
SP: Caleb Cotham (6-5, 4.63 ERA)

Weather: Sunny, 78 degrees.Winds blowing from N to NW at 8 mph. Another beautiful day for America’s pastime .

As SID reported earlier on the blog, MTSU will send righthander Chad Edwards (8-1, 5.99 ERA) to the hill to face the Commodores. Edwards has the distinction of being the only pitcher to shutout the Commodores this year in a 8-0 decision on April 7. VU could only manage three hits with three walks, while Edwards struck out three in a 126 pitch complete game performance.

Cotham is coming off a strong, complete game seven-inning outing against Arkansas in the semifinals of the SEC Tournament. Cotham, pitching with a torn meniscus, allowed Arkansas to only one run on five hits with seven strikeouts.

Vanderbilt will be the home team Sunday against the second-seeded Blue Raiders.

Fans can follow all of the day's action at by clicking here.

Mr. Consistent

By Travis Young - Steven Liddle is quietly putting together a very nice season for the Commodores this season. In a league that features players like Kent Matthes, Rich Poythress and Nick Ebert, Liddle’s name kind of flies under the radar.

Through 61 games this season, the second-team All-SEC outfielder is currently tied or leading the team in eight offensive categories; (runs (62), doubles (21), home runs (10), triples (2), slugging % (.582) on-base % (.449), walks (40) and total bases (139). Liddle is second on the team in hitting with at .351 average while batting mostly out of the two through four hole this season.

Through May 24, Liddle ranked in the top-10 among all Southeastern Conference players in seven offensive categories; (batting average, on-base percentage, runs, hits, doubles, walks and total bases).

VU head coach Tim Corbin knew when they recruited him that they were getting a special talent in Liddle.

“Steve is a good all-around player who has always competed at a high level,” head coach Tim Corbin said. “He is very fundamentally sound in the outfield and handles the bat well. He has developed into a real good player for us and he is only in his second year of college baseball.”

In addition to his constant bat in the heart of the order, Liddle has showed that he can play defense as well, boasting a .984 fielding percentage while recording 118 put outs.

Coming into the season, Liddle was expected to start in either left or right field after coming on strong at the end of the year, but has blossomed into one of team’s best hitters. Liddle hit .310 with 28 RBI and 28 runs scored in 54 games last season, but has exploded offensively this season in becoming one of team’s most clutch hitters.

Steve Martin sightings galore at the Opry

by Leathers - Of all things, backstage at the Saturday night Grand Ole Opry turned into a Steve Martin lookalike affair, thanks in large part to our own Commodore head football coach.

With the help of Vanderbilt Athletics fan and longtime Opry member Whisperin' Bill Anderson, Bobby Johnson got to meet Martin, the legendary actor/comedian whom total strangers continue to confuse the coach with. (Check out the back stage photo take of the duo.)

Johnson, accompanied by his wife Catherine, was introduced to his famous lookalike after Martin's opening set at the Opry.

"He was preoccupied and I definitely understand why," the head coach said, "but he was very cordial and just real excited about playing on the Opry."

"As we were introduced, he said, 'Hey, we look alike.' That's what Catherine has been saying for years now," Johnson added.

An lifelong banjo picker, Martin was making his highly anticipated first appearance on the Opry stage. He was joined by an all-star lineup of talent, including Vince Gill and wife Amy Grant, John McEuen of the Nitty Gitty Dirt Band, fiddler Stuart Duncan and guitarist Tim O'Brien, in front of a packed house.

Familar Foe..Again

by SID - Vanderbilt and Middle Tennessee will meet for the fourth time this season with the stakes on this game being the highest it has ever been. The winner advances into the regional finals, while the loser's season is done.

The Blue Raiders lead the season series 2-1 by virtue of their 5-4 win over Vanderbilt on Friday.

As Barca Blog earlier reported Caleb Cotham (6-5, 4.63 ERA) is going for the Commodores, while Middle Tennessee is sending right-hander Chad Edwards (8-1, 5.99 ERA) to the bump. Edwards has the distinction of being the only pitcher to shutout the Commodores this year in a 8-0 decision on April 7. VU could only manage three hits with three walks, while Edwards struck out three in a 126 pitch complete game performance.

Was Edwards' shutout more of an aberration than the norm as his overall numbers would indicate? An 8-1 record with a six ERA likely means that MTSU's lineup produced a lot of runs when he was on the mound, with his start against Vanderbilt his lone complete game of the year. Opponents are hitting .335 off of him and he has just 40 strikeouts with 15 walks in 67.2 innings. While the Commodores didn't have much success against him the first time, a second look could provide a much different result.

If Vanderbilt is to advance to its fourth regional final appearance in five NCAA trips under Tim Corbin, it will need to get the momentum early and not let Edwards get comfortable on the mound. As the team showed in Saturday's 10-0 win over Indiana, an early lead gives the team more confidence and it carries throughout the game.

Neither team wants to call it a season so this afternoon's game will be one with a lot of intensity and emotion.

Hitting notes

by Barca Blog - A couple of notes and quotes from Saturday's 10-0 win over Indiana.

Start me up

Playing in their first elimination game of the NCAA tournament, the Commodores needed a quick start on the scoreboard Saturday to erase any jitters, especially after getting in a 4-0 hole in Friday's regional opening loss to Middle Tennessee.

Head coach Tim Corbin searched for a spark and he started with leadoff hitter Brian Harris.

"Harry, you got to get it going now," Corbin said during pregame warmups. "We run on you and your due."

Harris didn't disappoint. In his first at bat, the MBA product took a 2-2 offering deep over the left field fence, his eighth round tripper of the year. Jonathan White followed with a triple and scored on Curt Casali's groundout to short, giving the 'Dores a 2-0 lead right off the bat.

“We talked about getting momentum today," Corbin said. "We needed to get some things flowing offensively for our psyche more than anything else. We had some good hitters that just had tougher days yesterday."

The Commodores' 1-4 hitters (Harris, White, Liddle, Casali) were held to 1-for-15 at the plate with one run and no RBIs against MTSU -- the only hit being White's double in the ninth. Corbin's same four (except Liddle and Casali swapped places in the order) had a huge day Saturday, going 7-for-17 with six RBIs, six runs and four extra-base hits.

"They were very productive," Corbin added. "I thought that’s where the leadership came from. They got in there and swung the bat very well. It was a team effort today, but it started from the top."

Being Aggressive

Corbin provided the stat of the game in his postgame press conference.

"We really earned this game offensively. (Friday) we walked eight times and struck out once. (Saturday) we struck out nine times and walked once, so all of our offense was generated from struck balls off (Matt Bashore) who had won his last five starts. That kid was basically unhittable in the Big Ten.

"We talked about just trying to force it a little bit (on offense). I think the kids just reacted and got it going. They just got knocked back on their heels a little bit Friday and were disappointed but got back up and started unloading and throwing punches."

Reynolds provides punch

Freshman second baseman Riley Reynolds has made some dazzling plays in the field so far, but was also able to give the 'Dores an offensive punch out of the ninth spot in the lineup Saturday.

The Lee's Summit, Mo., native broke out of a 2-for-19 slump against the Hoosiers by going 3-for 4 with two doubles, two runs and an RBI. It was his first multi-hit game since May 9 against Georgia.

"Riley wore out that left field line," Corbin said of the left-handed hitter. "It was nice to see because he has been kept in check the last three weeks, so it was good to get him going."

Pitching notes

by Barca Blog - As expected, Caleb Cotham will take the mound for the Commodores against Middle Tennessee in an elimination game Sunday afternoon at Patterson Stadium.

Cotham, pitching with a torn meniscus, shined in his first start in three weeks last Saturday at the SEC Tournament. The redshirt sophomore allowed only one run on five hits with seven strikeouts in a seven-inning complete game against Arkansas.

No word yet on who VU would start if they advance to Sunday night's contest with Louisville (or Monday night for that matter). Corbin did suggest that it wouldn't be out of the question to use Mike Minor or Sonny Gray at some point in relief if the Commodores can keep winning.

"Guaranteed, Sonny and Minor are going to be asking for the ball again," Corbin said. "Common sense would tell you they won’t return, but it happened in 2007 with David Price. If you’re playing winner take all, you do whatever you can. Those guys are competitors. We’ll do what we have to do. I’m not going to run them out there for a long time, but we’ll wait until we get there."

Minor threw 134 pitches Friday while Gray registered 107 Saturday.

Also, Corbin explained why Gray was pulled after eight innings instead of leaving him on the hill to finish off a complete-game shutout against Indiana.

"It was more along the lines to get Taylor (Hill) some work because he hadn’t pitched in four weeks (May 5 vs. Belmont) and I really wanted to get him out there on the bump. Sonny had gone over 100 pitches. He could have finished it off and probably wanted to. In order for us to win this tournament, we’ll have to play five games, and using Taylor for one inning would not hurt us. He really needed the work if he’s going to help us down the road."

Anxiously awaiting

by Barca Blog - You can understand if Sonny Gray was anxious prior to Vanderbilt’s contest with Indiana Saturday. The weight of the Commodores’ season was riding on the freshman hurler’s right arm.

“(Sonny’s) running around before the game with a bat in his hand,” Vanderbilt head coach Tim Corbin noticed. “I had to get him out of the sun. He had some nervous energy working.”

Gray took that energy and unleashed his most dominant performance of his young career, not allowing an extra base hit in a career-high eight innings of shutout work to lead the Commodores to a 10-0 rout of Indiana.

Gray left IU’s potent offense playing the guessing game as he mowed down 10 Hoosier hitters with a good mixture of fastballs, breaking balls and offspeed pitches to keep their hitting attack off balance. He was in total control, too, only walking one of 30 batters faced.

“He was pretty dominant today,” Indiana head coach Tracy Smith said. “When you face that type of pitching performance, your margin of error is very small. When he starts throwing the breaking ball consistently with his velocity it makes it very, very tough.”

Gray’s only challenge came in the fifth with Vanderbilt holding a 3-0 lead. After IU loaded the bases with no outs, the Smyrna, Tenn., native buckled down to freeze Tyler Rogers and Jake Dunning on back-to-back strikeouts. He then forced Brian Lambert into a groundout to shortstop to end the inning and thwart any momentum IU had built up.

“We’ve gotten out of situations like that before,” Gray said, “and I told myself that I was going to cut-it loose and just see what happens.”

What happened was anything but your typical freshman performance, especially when you consider it took place on the biggest stage. But as Corbin pointed out about Gray, “there’s no freshman in him.”

(Photo by Jimmy Jones)

Saturday, May 30, 2009

The Greatest

by Barca Blog - Who knew that sticking around for tonight's regional nightcap between Louisville and MTSU would include getting to see the sporting world's greatest icon of all-time... Muhammad Ali. The Louisville native received a standing ovation accompanied with the classic "Ali... Ali...Ali" chant after it was announced he was in attendance during an early inning break.

"The Greatest" is pictured above with another former baseball superstar, Barry Bonds (errr.... actually it's Kevin Colon, who serves as the Associate Director of Student-Athletics for Vanderbilt Baseball).

'Dores will get rematch with MTSU

by Barca Blog - No. 1 seed Louisville rallied late to edge No. 2 seed Middle Tennessee 3-2 Saturday night at Patterson Stadium. Trailing 2-1 in the eighth, the Cardinals tied the game on Josh Richmond's leadoff solo homer to left. Louisville took the lead for good in the top of the ninth when Jeff Arnold scored on catcher Drew Robertson's errant throw to third after a pitchout. UL reliever Derek Self then retired the side in order in the bottom of the ninth to seal the victory.

Vanderbilt will get a rematch with MTSU in an elimination game Sunday at 2 p.m. CT. The winner of that game will have to beat Louisville twice -- on Sunday and Monday at 6 p.m. CT -- to advance to the super regional.

Photos: Vanderbilt vs. Indiana

by Barca Blog - Here's a link to Jimmy Jones' photo gallery from today's win over Indiana. Photo Gallery

Audio: Postgame press conference

by Barca Blog - Listen to head coach Tim Corbin, pitcher Sonny Gray and outfielder Steven Liddle talk to the press following the Commodores' 10-0 win over Indiana Saturday. Click Here for Audio

FINAL: Vanderbilt 10, Indiana 0

The Commodores defeated Indiana 10-0 Saturday in a elimination game at the second day of the NCAA Regionals. Click here for up-to-the-minute post game information, including quotes, audio and photos from Vanderbilt's win Saturday.

Vanderbilt will play the loser of No. 1 Louisville and No. 2 Middle Tennessee at 2 p.m. CT Sunday.

IN PROGRESS: Vanderbilt vs. Indiana

The Commodores and Hoosiers are underway in a elimination game on the second day of the NCAA Louisville Regional. Click here to follow the action on

Starting Lineup vs. Indiana

by Travis Young - Here is the lineup for today's elimination game against Indiana. The lineup is a little different than yesterday as Curt Casali will bat in the three hole while Steven Liddle slides down to the cleanup spot. Giobbi and Westlake switched places in the order as Giobbi will hit fifth and Westlake sixth. Loftus and Esposito will switch places in the order as Loftus moves up to seventh while Esposito will bat eighth.

1. Brian Harris SS
2. Jonathan White CF
3. Curt Casali 1B
4. Steven Liddle RF
5. Andrew Giobbi C
6. Aaron Westlake DH
7. Joe Loftus LF
8. Jason Esposito 3B
9. Riley Reynolds 2B
SP: Sonny Gray (4-1, 5.14 ERA)

Weather: Partly Cloudy, 78 degrees.Winds blowing from the SW at 10 mph. The flag in center field indicates the wind is blowing out to center field.

Indiana will start junior left-hander Matt Bashore while Vanderbilt will counter with Gray. Bashore is 7-4 with a 3.57 ERA with 101 strikeouts and 29 walks in 90.2 innings of work. Scouting reports have him throwing anywhere from 88-91, with the ability to dial it up to 93-94.

Gray is coming off one of his best start's of his collegiate career where he struck out a career high 11 batters in seven innings of work against South Carolina at the SEC Tournament last week.

Vanderbilt will be the home team Saturday against the fourth-seeded Hoosiers.

Fans can follow all of the day's action at

NCAA Louisville Regional Day 2

by Barca Blog - After a stinging 5-4 loss to in-state rival Middle Tennessee, the Commodores have no choice but to shrug it off if they wish to stay in Louisville past Saturday. Just like last year in Tempe, VU will have to do it the hard way with four straight wins to make it to the super regional.

Head coach Tim Corbin commented on the 'Dores situation after Friday's defeat.

“We just need to put this game behind us. Our team knows that it’s a five-game tournament for us now, but you can’t look at that way when you get into Saturday’s game.

“We have enough pitching to last in this tournament. The MTSU game was obviously a tough loss because it was a one-run ballgame and we left a lot of runners in scoring position that we didn’t drive in.

“Saturday’s a fresh start and if we are meant to continue to play than we will have a good attitude.”

The 'Dores will take on Indiana, the Big Ten Tournament Champs, in today's elimination game at 2 p.m. CT inside Patterson Stadium. Follow the game here.

A little bit about Indiana

by SID - Indiana swept through the Big Ten tournament last week to pick up the league's automatic bid. The Hoosiers rolled through the Big Ten Tournament, outscoring its opponents 47-9 in four games in the tournament.

Indiana made three costly errors and played like a team making its first NCAA tournament appearance since 1996 in a 8-2 loss to Louisville Friday night.

Junior catcher Josh Phegley, a Golden Spikes Award semifinalist, is hitting .350 with a team leading 17 homers and 66 RBI. Freshman designated hitter/outfielder Alex Dickerson leads the team with a .374 average and has provided power as well with 14 homers and 57 RBI. The Hoosiers are hitting .328 as a team with 61 homers and 423 runs scored (7.3 per game).

Junior left-hander Matt Bashore will get the start against Vanderbilt. Bashore is 7-4 with a 3.57 ERA with 101 strikeouts and 29 walks in 90.2 innings of work. Scouting reports have him throwing anywhere from 88-91, with the ability to dial it up to 93-94.

Junior right-hander Chris Squires is the team’s closer with eight saves in 19 relief appearances. He has a 4.01 ERA with 36 strikeouts and 18 walks in 51.2 innings.

As a team the Hoosiers sport a 5.07 ERA with 430 strikeouts and 215 walks in 509.1 innings.

So far the Louisville Regional has played out according to seed. If the Commodores are to extend their season for at least another day, the offense will have to do a better job of hitting with runners on base. The team left 12 on in the loss to Middle yesterday and 1-for-12 in RBI opportunities.

Sonny Gray gets the start and will look to build on a career high 11 strikeout performance against South Carolina last week at the SEC tourney. The freshman gets his chance on the hill in a few hours. The Dores are the home team in the elimination game.

Saturday's Articles from Around the Web

MTSU's big hits beat Vanderbilt
MTSU's win was no upset
Grand opening for MTSU

Friday, May 29, 2009

Next Up: Indiana

by Barca Blog - No. 1 seed Louisville advanced into the winner's bracket of the NCAA Regional with an 8-2 victory over No. 4 seed Indiana Friday night at Patterson Field.

This result means the Commodores will face the Hoosiers Saturday at 2 p.m. CT in an elimination game.

IN PROGRESS: Indiana vs. Louisville

by Barca Blog - No. 1 seed Louisville and No. 4 seed Indiana are playing in front of a red-clad, sold-out crowd at Jim Patterson Stadium. The Cardinals are up 3-2 going into the fourth inning. The Commodores will play the loser in an elimination game Saturday at 2 p.m. CT.

Track the action here.

Also, two random notes about this game:

1 - Every Louisville player took the field sporting a mohawk during pregame introductions. A couple of them even dyed their center strip red.... almost reminding me of the Red Rooster from WWF back in the day.

2- This is the first time Louisville has hosted a regional, although the Cards did entertain a super regional on their way to Omaha in 2007. Athletics officials brought in temporary bleachers for the first and third base lines, raising capacity from 2,500 to 4,100. Word is that the seats came directly from last weekend's Indy 500... but not sure if Helio Castroneves climbed them.

Photos: Vanderbilt vs. MTSU

by Barca Blog - Here's a link to John Russell's photo gallery from today's loss to Middle Tennessee. Photo Gallery

Audio: Postgame press conference

by Barca Blog - Listen to head coach Tim Corbin, designated hitter Aaron Westlake and pitcher Mike Minor talk to the press following the Commodores' 5-4 loss to MTSU Friday. Click Here for Audio

FINAL: Middle Tennessee 5, Vanderbilt 4

The Commodores fell to the Blue Raiders 5-4 Friday at the first day of the NCAA Regionals. Click here for a brief recap, post game notes and quotes from Vanderbilt head coach Tim Corbin.

Vanderbilt will play the loser of No. 1 Louisville and No. 4 Indiana at 2 p.m. CT Saturday.

IN PROGRESS: Vanderbilt vs. MTSU

The Commodores and Blue Raiders are underway on the first day of the NCAA Louisville Regional. Click here to follow the action on

Starting lineup vs. Middle Tennessee

by SID - Not any real changes in the lineup from what we have seen the last week or so.

1. Brian Harris SS
2. Jonathan White CF
3. Steven Liddle RF
4. Curt Casali 1B
5. Aaron Westlake DH
6. Andrew Giobbi C
7. Jason Esposito 3B
8. Joe Loftus LF
9. Riley Reynolds 2B
SP: Mike Minor (6-4, 3.64 ERA)

Weather: Partly Cloudy, 76 degrees.Winds NW at 8 mph.

Role reversal

By Barca Blog - Tim Corbin finally gave in.

The Commodore skipper twisted up his normal routine by giving the pitching staff a chance to take BP in the closing minutes of Thursday’s hour-long practice at Jim Patterson Stadium.

“They’ve been bugging me for quite some time,” said Corbin, who threw the session. “I probably faked them out because they think that’s the last thing I would do is give them a chance to swing the bat. I felt I’d give them something that they’ve wanted to do and at the same time they get a little bit of laughter from it and they get loose.”

Corbin’s decision created the biggest reaction of the practice with players laughing, cheering and chattering on each swing. Reliever Russell Brewer (a former infielder) led the assault by going deep twice, while Sonny Gray and Mark Lamm also showed off their power with a home run apiece. Even strength and conditioning coach Gabe Teeple got some hacks in.

So how did Corbin assess his new offensive attack?

“They’re going to be good, good softball players when they get older with those long and uphill swings,” Corbin quipped. “It makes you sick to your stomach when you watch it, but I had to do it.”

WBB Staff Catches Fan Fever

By Weinman - Last night the Indiana Fever topped the Chicago Sky, 74-67, in an exhibition contest in Indianapolis. In attendance for the game, which pitted former Commodore teammates Christina Wirth (above) and Jennifer Risper against each other, were members of the Vanderbilt coaching staff. Click the picture above for a larger version, and notice who is sitting just to the right of the basketball....

Another big "Thank You!" to the Fever photographer Frank McGrath and P.R. director Kevin Messenger, who have been extremely helpful in sending pictures and information back to Nashville. McGrath also included a shot of Wirth and Fever teammate Katie Douglas playing a little defense in the Fever's photo gallery.

Time flies

By Barca Blog - Sitting here in the Sheraton, only hours away from our regional opener with Middle Tennessee, I thought to myself… Where has the season gone?

It seems like only yesterday the Commodores were packing their bags to head out west to Palo Alto and Berkeley. Or just the other day that Jonathan White or Nick Christiani came into the program as wide-eyed freshman.

“When you’re a coach, kids come and go and it’s almost like you never even coached them sometimes,” Tim Corbin said. “I can’t even remember coaching (David) Price, and (Pedro) Alvarez, and (Ryan) Flaherty. That was just a year ago or two years ago. It comes quick and I tell the kids every semester that once you get started in January it’s going to fly by so enjoy every minute that you have.”

No one really knew what to expect with such a young squad this season, but here we are, back in the NCAA tournament for the fourth consecutive year. It feels good to be one of only 64 teams left playing ball. I, for one, am going to try and enjoy every minute of it.

I'll leave you with a song from the greatest band of all-time... Huey Lewis and the News. I loved seeing all of these classic clips from some of HLN's best videos. Bravo.

Scoop on today’s opponent- MTSU

By Travis Young - Before the Commodores take the field today against Middle Tennessee, let’s give you a breakdown on how Middle Tennessee advanced to NCAA Regionals for the first time since 2004.

The 2009 Sun Belt Tournament Champions are making its 14th NCAA Regional appearance and will be the No. 2 seed in the Regional for the first time in school history. MTSU has never been higher than a No. 3 seed at Regionals. The Blue Raiders put together a sensational season, going 43-16 and sharing the regular season Sun Belt title under 22nd year head coach Steve Peterson. The 43 wins this season is a new school record. MTSU was nearly unbeatable at home this season, going 28-4 at the newly renovated Reese Smith Field. Middle Tennessee started the season winning 21 of its first 25 games.

MTSU led the conference in hitting and was second in team ERA. The Blue Raiders boast one of the top players in the nation this season, in Sun Belt Conference Player of Year, Bryce Brentz. Brentz, a Golden Spikes Semifinalist, leads the Raiders in batting average (.482) hits (106), home runs (28), doubles (19), RBI (72). Brentz’s .482 average, .968 slugging% and 28 home runs ranks first in all of Division I.

Five other Blue Raiders were named All-Sun Belt following the regular season, including senior third baseman Rawley Bishop. Bishop is a nice compliment to Brentz as his numbers speak for themselves. Bishop is hitting .404 with 14 home runs and 51 RBI. Seven of MTSU’s starting position players are batting .325 or higher.

On the mound, the Blue Raiders are led by junior lefthander Kenneth Roberts and reliever Coty Woods. Roberts, the team’s No. 1 weekend starter, earned first-team All-Sun Belt Conference honors after going 8-1, 3.12 ERA during the regular season, while Woods has a school record 14 saves this season. Roberts was named the Sun Belt Tournament’s Most Outstanding Player after going 2-0 with a 2.07 ERA, including a complete game in two starts at the tournament.

MTSU will throw Roberts against the Commodores Friday, while VU will counter with Mike Minor (6-4, 3.64 ERA). It will mark the first time Roberts has faced Vanderbilt in his career.

Audio: Fisher previews MTSU matchup

by Barca Blog - Listen to Joe Fisher preview Vanderbilt's game with MTSU during his segment on the 104.5 Wake Up Zone earlier this morning. Click for Audio

It's Game Day

by SID - The Commodores will take on the Blue Raiders in a few hours in the first game of the Louisville Regional.

Vanderbilt will try and have its second successful (in terms of W-L) weekend in a row for just the third time this season and for the first time since taking series from Florida and Arkansas the first two weeks of April. Since that time the Dores have spent the last six weeks alternating a winning weekend with a losing one.

So either things remain the same or VU will start a new trend. The young Commodores gained valuable postseason experience last week at the SEC tourney and one person that set the tone was junior ace Mike Minor. His complete game gem over No. 2 LSU in the opening round last Wednesday was, in my opinion, his best pitching performance as a Commodore. It was his second complete game in three starts and came against a team many are picking to win it all.

Minor has always pitched well in the postseason. He has made three appearances, two starts and one relief outing, in the last two NCAA tournaments and is 1-0 with a 3.85 ERA with 15 strikeouts and just one walk in 16.1 innings. Vanderbilt will once again need him to set the tone for the weekend against a powerful Middle Tennessee squad.

More on Middle Tennessee later in the day..

Friday's baseball articles

by Barca Blog - Here are Friday's articles from around the web on Vanderbilt's NCAA Regional matchup with Middle Tennesse (2 p.m. CT).
Playing second fiddle wears on coach
Unfamiliar pairing for familiar foes
MTSU aims to add to impressive record
A fitting place for MTSU slugger

Video: Giobbi chats with White, Reid

by Barca Blog - Since we're back on the road for the second week in a row, we thought we'd continue the Hoover trend by giving you some more behind-the-scenes footage of the Commodore baseball team in Louisville.

In this segment, catcher Andrew Giobbi chats with outfielder Jonathan White and pitcher Chase Reid about a variety of topics including who has the best beach body... Johnny or Chase? Watch below:

Video: Mike Minor interview

by Barca Blog - Earlier this week, Eric Jones caught up with junior ace Mike Minor, Vanderbilt's game 1 starter against Middle Tennessee in the 2009 NCAA Louisville Regional. Watch the video below:

Younger players say they need to stay loose

by David Rutz - NCAA tournament baseball is intense, with entire seasons hanging on every at-bat and every inning. But for the Commodores to advance to their first Super Regional in five years, they think they just need to chill.

With a young line-up in which many of the hitters will be seeing their first NCAA action in the Louisville Regional, that's the mindset that Vanderbilt head coach Tim Corbin wants to see, the same mindset that propelled his team into the SEC championship game.

CLICK HERE to read more

Thursday, May 28, 2009

Go get 'em, slugger

by Barca Blog - All four teams in the NCAA Louisville Regional were treated to a tour and dinner at the Louisville Slugger Museum & Factory tonight. Thanks to athletic trainer Chris Ham for sending me these photos from the event:

One of Mickey Mantle's game-used bats. You had to wear gloves to hold it.

Aaron Westlake poses for the cameras

Fits like a glove: Mark Lamm, Steven Liddle and Sonny Gray

Photos: Thursday's practice

by Barca Blog - Here are 40+ photos that I took during Vanderbilt's NCAA practice session in Louisville today. Hope you enjoy them - Click Here

Practice concludes

by Barca Blog - We just wrapped up practice a little while ago at Jim Patterson Stadium and are now back at our home base, the Sheraton Louisville Riverside Hotel.

I want to give a special thanks to Paul Jones from Fox17 Nashville, who drove to today's session to shoot interviews with Coach Corbin, Andrew Giobbi and Brian Harris (pictured above). Look for Jones' segment on the Commodores to air sometime from 9-10 p.m. CT tonight.

Well, we have plenty of good content to post over the next 24 hours including photos, videos, and more, so be sure to keep up with the blog leading up to Friday's NCAA opener with Middle Tennessee at 2 p.m. CT.

Stadium plays to Commodores’ strengths

By Travis Young - Vanderbilt’s baseball team will return to Jim Patterson Stadium for the 2009 NCAA Louisville Regional this weekend, a little over a month after the Commodores edged the hometown Cardinals, 4-3 in 10 innings, on April 22.

If you are unfamiliar with Patterson Stadium, it’s one of the most unique fields in all of college baseball. The venue is one of only two NCAA baseball facilities (Washington St. Bailey-Brayton Field) with field turf on the entire field with the exception of the pitchers mound. From the stands it looks like it has dirt in the field but it is actually red field turf. The surface is similar to what David Price and the Tampa Bay Rays play on at Tropicana Field.

Also, beautiful scenery surrounds the park with Papa John’s Stadium behind the outfield wall with an active railroad track in between. One of the nation’s premier sporting landmarks, Churchill Downs sits off to the right behind home plate.

Vanderbilt head coach Tim Corbin talked about the five-year-old facility -- which measures a respectable 330 feet down the lines, 375 feet to the power alleys and 402 feet to straight away center -- during Monday’s meeting with the press.

“I like the way that park plays because it’s a decent sized field,” Corbin said. “You have to strike a ball to get it over the fence. The turf plays slow and the balls hit on the ground are slow and the ball dies on bunts. The field plays true because it is field turf so you won’t get any bad hops in the grill. When you play on turf you have to be aggressive.

“I like the fact that we have played on it this year because the only other time we have played on that type of surface is when we practice on our football practice field. We have taken a lot of ground balls on that surface in practice when we are unable to practice on our field due to poor weather.

“I would say it’s similar to our home field in terms of size of the outfield. The main difference is the field turf really slows things down. We like playing on bigger fields because that plays to our strengths. Overall though, it is helpful that we have played there. I think our kids are fired up to play there again.”

Face-off: Drew Hayes vs. Mark Lamm

by Barca Blog - Watch the video below as pitchers Drew Hayes and Mark Lamm face off in MLB 09: The Show on PlayStation 2. (Look for cameos by Grayson Garvin and Nick Christiani)

Dore vs. Dore: Fever host Sky Thursday

By Weinman - Former Commodore teammates Jennifer Risper and Christina Wirth will don opposing jerseys this evening as Wirth's Indiana Fever play host to Risper's Chicago Sky tonight in a WNBA preseason contest.

As co-captains for the 2008-09 Vanderbilt women's basketball team, Wirth and Risper led the Commodores to their sixth Southeastern Conference Tournament Championship and the school's 14th appearance in the NCAA Sweet 16.

Thursday night will give both WNBA rookies another opportunity to stand out as coaches prepare their rosters for the upcoming 2009 season. For information on tonight's game, check out the Fever's web site.

Down with Churchill Downs

by Barca Blog - To follow the picture in the blog below.. just two blocks down from Jim Patterson Stadium sits Churchill Downs, the site of the 135th Kentucky Derby earlier this month. You can see the twin spires from just outside the press box balcony - pretty cool. Oh, just remembered that I need to run over and get my trifecta in for the first race tomorrow.

Looks like we made it

by Barca Blog - We have officially set up camp in Jim Patterson Stadium in Louisville. Here's a picture of the front of the facility, which features their trip to Omaha in 2007 and a Louisville Slugger display. The Commodores will practice on the field at 12 p.m. CT with media day to follow.

In My Words with Jonathan White

by Barca Blog - Here's a link to a Q&A session with senior outfielder Jonathan White from last month's Commodore Nation magazine.

And if you missed the preseason interview with White on, watch below.

Road trippin' to the Bluegrass

by Barca Blog - I'm currently in the car right now headed to Louisville (the team arrived last night). Stay with the blog throughout the weekend for exclusive postseason coverage of the Commodores.

And make sure you check out Maurice Patton's feature on Vanderbilt pitching coach Derek Johnson in today's edition of The Tennessean -- click here to read.

Wednesday, May 27, 2009


by Barca Blog - Thanks to Will for alerting me that "Barca" is one of the most searched words on Twitter today. I guess some of you out there are really excited that I'll be making the trip to Louisville for the NCAA regional (I'm really touched folks). Here's a sample of what millions of people are saying about me at this very second on Twitter:

BalkanSeesaw: That's true! Bravo Barca!

JustcallmeMac: You don't have to be sorry. I don't like Barca, too ;))

rcb92777: sounds like barca dominated

larasati: Had soooo much FUN!!! Thanks to Barca and all the dudes! Going home now

StevenYip: Awesome Barca!

ashwintitan: hate to admit it but barca played it well

msw0928: Yay for barca!!! :)

mokomajazzliisa: Let's say BARCA!!!!!!!!!!!

Tamora72: depressed, but they were outclassed by Barca

TypoTravis: Typo, Barca, Typo!!!!!!!!!!!

joshgardner: Barca deserved it 100%, ten times better on the night. Such a shame.

maggas15: Woot! Barca are the Champions!!

Kwickks: YEYYYY!!! Well done to barca even if they do weep and hug like girlies!

happycat1992: it's sad, but still... Congratulations Barca

WastedJoker: Well we were well beaten by an excellent barca

WeAreBuggles: Hell yeah, Barca!

danyewest87: Come on the BARCA !!!!! :D

Pazuzu_hsp: who's barca?

hatuF1: Barca was pretty much untouchable.

lavilicious: Not gonna lie, I'm upset that Barca beat us.

marcodegouveia: Barca is just too good

BombaySamuel: you get it, barca!

aebdellagiacoma: just might have to wear my barca jersey to the office tomorrow

Reynolds loses in doubles at French Open

By Ryan Schulz – One year after advancing to the third round of doubles competition at the French Open, former Vanderbilt tennis star Bobby Reynolds was unable to repeat last year’s success as he and teammate Rajeev Ram fell in the first round on Wednesday.

The American duo was eliminated from the doubles draw by Andrei Pavel and Horia Tecau of Romania, 6-2, 7-5.

Reynolds’ loss in doubles play came one day after falling in the first round of the singles draw.

Reynolds is currently ranked No. 83 in singles and had a career-best ranking of No. 63 on Feb. 2. Reynolds and Ram are also ranked No. 47 in doubles.

Black and Gold iron men

by Eric Jones - Three names have been constant in whatever line-up Tim Corbin and his coaching staff have put together in 2009. Curt Casali, Steven Liddle and Jason Esposito have started all 59 games for the Commodores, making them the only three members of the team to achieve the feat this season. Last year, seniors Dominic de la Osa, Ryan Flaherty and David Macias played and started all 63 games.

Liddle has emerged as perhaps the team’s best all-around player finishing with a .354 batting average while leading the team in runs scored (61), walks (40), on-base percentage (.454) and slugging percentage (.590). In a year when nine other Commodores saw time in the outfield including infielders Joe Loftus, Alex McClure and super utilityman Andrew Giobbi, it was Liddle who became the one constant in the outfield and a run-producer in the line-up.

Curt Casali would not allow his season to be detoured by a torn elbow ligament, instead opting to push surgery to the off-season. It was a breakout season for the sophomore who started primarily at first base and became a primary power source for a team that hit just 50 home runs this year. In addition, Casali struck out just 21 times in 217 at bats to go with his team-best 56 RBI. Now he is hoping to delay off-season elbow surgery until after the College World Series. Famed sports surgeon Dr. James Andrews is scheduled to perform the ulnar ligament transplant surgery (aka Tommy John surgery) later this spring in hopes of preparing Casali for a return to catching.

“Getting to the SEC Tournament and trying to get into a Regional is why I elected to play this year,” said Casali who has been a major source of offense for the Commodores. “Playing first base has allowed me to really keep my focus in the game, but it’s a tough position. I have been a catcher all my life and it really gave me a different perspective, but in the end I just want to play.”

Jason Esposito, the lone freshman of the trio, had a tough act to follow when he signed as the replacement at third base for Pedro Alvarez. He has done nothing but shine at the hot corner with a bat that has shown glimpses of great things to come (.287-4HR-39RBI) while also leading the team in stolen bases swiping 20 of 24.

As the Commodores advance into NCAA Regional play, they will get greater exposure and more scouts will inevitably get a greater chance to see what Commodore fans already know. Of the three, only Steven Liddle is eligible for the 2009 Major League Baseball Amateur draft in a few weeks. Either way, you win as a fan. You get to see another year in black and gold or you find a new major league team to root for.

Small-town legend turned ace

by Barca Blog - Chapel Hill, Tenn., has a little more than 1,000 residents and two stoplights. It's also the hometown of junior ace Mike Minor. Check out Ryan Schulz's feature on Minor in a recent issue of Commodore Nation Magazine.
Click to Read More

Also, I thought I'd throw in this preseason video interview with "Spike" from the website.

Bryce Brentz article

by Barca Blog - David Boclair of The City Paper wrote a nice feature on Middle Tennessee outfielder/pitcher Bryce Brentz, one of the best players in college baseball this season.

The Golden Spikes Award semifinalist currently tops the nation with a .482 batting average and is tied for the NCAA lead in home runs with 28. He terrorized the Commodores in two games this year, going 7-for-9 at the plate with eight RBIs and three homers.

"Brentz hit everything we threw at him," Vanderbilt head coach Tim Corbin recalled during media day on Monday. "What separates him from a lot of hitters is his tremendous bat speed and he his a bad ball hitter. He reads pitches well and he can drive the ball to all fields.

Click Here
to read Boclair's article.

MTSU to start Roberts

by Barca Blog - Middle Tennessee head coach Steve Peterson has announced that junior southpaw Kenny Roberts will start against Vanderbilt in Friday's NCAA Louisville Regional opener.

"I just wanted to see how Kenny was going to be feeling," Peterson told The Daily News Journal. "He's our best, and he's been our best all year, so going into a game like this, he's the guy you want on the mound."

Roberts (10-1, 2.98 ERA) was named the Most Outstanding Player of the Sun Belt Tournament last weekend after picking up two victories for the Blue Raiders including a 3-1 win over ULM in the championship game. The Murfreesboro native also earned All-SBC first team honors this season, leading the conference in wins and earned run average.

Here are more articles from around the web today:
IU, Vandy, Middle will join Cards
MTSU, VU to clash
MTSU names Roberts starter
Corbin a big fan of Brentz

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Corbin calls MTSU 'an SEC ball club'

by Barca Blog - Vanderbilt has played Middle Tennessee six times in midweek games during Mike Minor’s career, but Friday will mark the first time the junior ace will take the hill against the Blue Raiders in his storied career.

Minor spoke about the anticipation of facing an in-state rival in the NCAA Louisville Regional opener.

“Everybody’s excited about it,” Minor said, “and plus it’s MTSU and Vanderbilt. Every year they come to our ballpark and they always show up. We always have close games. Now we’re in the big tournament so it’s going to be a lot of fun.”

Vanderbilt and Middle Tennessee split their two midweek meetings in 2009. On April 7 in Murfreesboro, MTSU dominated VU, 8-0, making it the only time the ‘Dores have been blanked all year. One week later, the Commodores evened the series by scoring seven runs in the fifth inning to rout the Blue Raiders, 15-7, at Hawkins Field.

“This will kind of be the tie-breaker right now,” Minor stated. “Plus, they’re a good team. We’re always trying to tell everybody that we’re the best team in the state, so it’s going to be a good contest.”

With state bragging rights on the line Friday, some might look back and argue that Middle Tennessee hasn’t faced Minor or the rest of Vanderbilt’s weekend starting rotation in the two previous matchups, but don’t tell that to head coach Tim Corbin. Corbin knows the Blue Raiders cannot be overlooked.

“(Middle Tennessee) is an SEC ball club,” Corbin admitted. “I thought they were one of the best teams we’ve seen this season, forget the fact that we played them in the midweek.

"They have very good players and two premium players (in Bryce Brentz and Rawley Bishop) that would be a three or four-hole hitter on most SEC teams.

“The bottom line is that we know they’re pretty good and it doesn’t matter where Middle Tennessee is playing, whether it’s the Sun Belt or SEC, they’re in this tournament regardless because they can play.”

MTSU will be making their 14th appearance in the NCAA Tournament. They will enter the postseason as a No. 2 seed, the highest ever for the program. The Sun Belt regular season and tournament champions also broke their school record for wins with 43.

Alex named to NGCA All-Region Team

By. A. Boggs - After a stellar finish to the NCAA Championships last week, Vanderbilt freshman Marina Alex was named to the National Golf Coach Association's All-East Region team for her accomplishments this postseason. Alex qualified for the national championship at the East Regional in Gainesville, Fla.

The Wayne, N.J., native finished in a tie for 37th at the NCAA Championships last week at Caves Valley Golf Club in Owings Mill, Md., and stormed up the leaderboard 37 places after her final-round 69 last Friday. Alex fired a 143 (74-69) in her last two rounds of the tournament, which tied her for the best final 36 holes of the championship.

Coming to Louisville?

by Barca Blog - If you've secured your tickets for the NCAA Louisville Regional, then make sure you read this traffic advisory. In addition to the baseball tournament this weekend, Louisville will be hosting the NCAA DI Track & Field Championship as well as the Kenny Chesney and Lady Antebellum concert Saturday night inside their football stadium. Click here to find out about the best possible routes to get to Jim Patterson Stadium to watch the Commodores.

Joe Fisher's Tuesday Update

by Barca Blog - In Tuesday's Commodore Sports Update with the 104.5 Wake Up Zone, Joe Fisher talks about Vanderbilt's at-large bid to the NCAA Baseball Tournament as well as David Price's 2009 MLB debut, which also featured two more former 'Dores in Jensen Lewis and Jeremy Sowers.
Click Here to Listen

Tuesday's baseball articles

by Barca Blog - Here are some articles from around the web on Tuesday for your reading enjoyment:
VU, MTSU take series to Louisville
MTSU rolls into NCAA regional
Minor brings major attitude
Louisville regional should be rocking

Reynolds falls at French Open

By Ryan Schulz - Former Commodore netter Bobby Reynolds lost in the first round of the French Open on Tuesday to Gael Monfils of France.

Reynolds was defeated 6-2, 6-3, 6-1 by Monfils, who is seeded 11th in the year's second major tournament. It was just the second time Reynolds had competed in the tournament. In his debut last year, Reynolds advanced to the second round.

Reynolds' loss in singles does not mark the end of his stint at the 2009 French Open. He will team with Rajeev Ram to face Romania's Andrei Pavel and Horia Tecau in the first round of doubles play. Last year, Reynolds advanced to the third round in doubles.

Monday, May 25, 2009

Corbin on regional pitching rotation

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."

Baseball regional ticket information

From Vanderbilt's ticket office:

Due to the limited amount of tickets allocated to Vanderbilt for the Louisville Regional, all Vanderbilt fans and donors are urged to make arrangements to purchase tickets through the Louisville Box Office.

Due to the Memorial Day holiday, the Louisville Ticket Office will be closed on Monday, however, the Louisville Regional Ticket Order Form will be available online at on Monday. The Louisville Ticket Office will begin taking ticket orders by phone for the Louisville Regional on Tuesday at 8 a.m. CT by calling (502) 852-5863.

All-tournament tickets, which include admission to the entire Louisville Regional, will cost $90 for reserved chairback seats, $64 for bleacher seats, $50 for berm seats and $38 for students with a valid ID. Children age 1 and under will be admitted free of charge.

Single game tickets for the Louisville Regional will go on sale on Friday at Jim Patterson Stadium. Single game tickets for the Louisville Regional are priced at $18 for reserved chairback seats, $10 for bleacher seats, $8 for general admission berm seats and $6 for students with a valid ID. All tickets purchased at Jim Patterson Stadium must be paid for with cash.

Corbin, Minor talk about NCAA selection

by Barca Blog - Head coach Tim Corbin and junior pitcher Mike Minor met with the press this afternoon to talk about the 2009 NCAA Tournament.

Listen to the free audio links below:
Audio: Corbin on NCAA Selection
Audio: Minor on NCAA Selection

Also, here are some of Corbin's quotes that intern Travis transcribed - click here.

Louisville Regional schedule

Here's how the regional schedule breaks down according to Louisville's site:

2009 NCAA Regional Schedule
Jim Patterson Stadium - Louisville, Ky.

Friday, May 29
2 p.m. CT - Game 1: No. 2 Middle Tenn. vs. No. 3 Vanderbilt
6 p.m. CT - Game 2: No. 1 Louisville vs. No. 4 Indiana

Saturday, May 30
2 p.m. CT - Game 3: Loser of Game 1 vs. Loser of Game 2
6 p.m. CT - Game 4: Winner of Game 1 vs. Winner of Game 2

Sunday, May 31
2 p.m. CT - Game 5: Winner of Game 3 vs. Loser of Game 4
6 p.m. CT - Game 6: Winner of Game 4 vs. Winner of Game 5

Monday, June 1
6 p.m. CT - Game 7: Winner of Game 6 vs. Loser of Game 6 (if necessary)

Printable bracket

by Barca Blog - Click here to see the complete 2009 NCAA baseball tournament bracket.

Vanderbilt earns NCAA bid

NASHVILLE, Tenn. - Vanderbilt will begin NCAA postseason play this weekend at the Louisville Regional, the NCAA announced on Monday. The Commodores (34-25), a No. 3 seed, will face a familiar opponent in Middle Tennessee (43-16), a No. 2 seed, in the opening game. Read More

Price to make 2009 debut tonight

by Barca Blog - Former Commodore pitcher David Price is expected to get his first Major League start of the season tonight when Tampa Bay takes on Cleveland at 5:05 p.m. CT at Progressive Field. Price was promoted from Triple-A Durham after Scott Kazmir was placed on the 15-day disabled list with a right quadriceps strain. Read about Price in the following articles from around the web:
Price to start Monday
Hopes are sky high for Price
Rays to call up David Price
Maddon hopes Price's stint is permanent

Sunday, May 24, 2009

NCAA Regional hosts announced

by Barca Blog - The NCAA just revealed the 16 host schools for regional play. Three SEC teams -- LSU, Florida and Ole Miss -- were selected to start the tournament in their home stadium.

The 'Dores will find out their NCAA fate Monday at 11:30 a.m. CT as ESPN will unveil the complete 64-team field.

16 Regional Sites/Hosts
• Atlanta/Georgia Tech
• Austin, Texas/Texas
• Baton Rouge, La./LSU
• Chapel Hill, N.C./UNC
• Clemson, S.C./Clemson
• Fort Worth, Texas/TCU
• Fullerton, Calif./Cal State Fullerton
• Gainesville, Fla./Florida
• Greenville, N.C./East Carolina
• Houston/Rice
• Irvine, Calif./UC-Irvine
• Louisville, Ky./Louisville
• Norman, Okla./Oklahoma
• Oxford, Miss./Ole Miss
• Tallahassee, Fla./Florida State
• Tempe, Ariz./Arizona State

NCAA selection buzz

by Barca Blog - The NCAA will announce its official 16 regional baseball hosts today at 2:30 p.m. CT. The 64-team bracket won't be revealed until Monday's selection show, which will be televised on ESPN at 11:30 a.m. CT.

It's highly unlikely that Vanderbilt would be named as one of the regional hosts, but the 'Dores have all but locked down a spot in the tournament based on their performance in Hoover. (Of course, winning today's SEC Championship would give VU an automatic bid).

Just for fun... take a look at where the experts think the Commodores will be headed in the latest tournament projections released yesterday.
Kendall Rogers' prediction on
Mark Etheridge's prediction on

IN PROGRESS: Vanderbilt vs. LSU

by Barca Blog - The Commodores and Tigers are underway at Regions Park. Here's how you can follow the action: The SEC has a live webcast of their tournament championship on You can also listen to Joe Fisher's radio broadcast live on WNSR 560 AM and online at For satellite radio, go to Sirius channel 216 or XM channel 199.

The game will be televised regionally on Fox Sports Net on a tape-delayed basis starting at 3 p.m. CT.

For live links, click here.

Pregame Chat

by Barca Blog - Here's a picture I took of Coach Corbin addressing the team in the dugout prior to today's championship game with LSU. Click the image to make it bigger. Only 15 minutes until first pitch!

Today's starting lineup

by SID - First off SEC officials have said if you are planning to watch the webcast on, you should go ahead and get in now. The system has the potential to get overloaded so if you get in now, the feed is live and active and you should be good to go.

Weather could be an issue for the second straight day in Hoover. There is an 80 percent chance of thunderstorms in the area today.

The lineup is the same as yesterday with senior right-hander Nick Christiani on the mound.

1. Brian Harris ss
2. Jonathan White cf
3. Steven Liddle rf
4. Curt Casali 1B
5. Aaron Westlake dh
6. Andrew Giobbi C
7. Riley Reynolds 2B
8. Jason Esposito 3B
9. Joe Loftus LF
SP: Nick Christiani (5-4, 4.94)

Christiani will be making his first start since shutting out Belmont, 3-0, in a seven inning complete game on May 5. Since that time he is 1-2 with a 2.61 ERA. He has 11 strikeouts and two walks in 10.1 innings in his last four appearances.

No easy feat

by Barca Blog (with SID notes) - For the fourth time in six seasons under head coach Tim Corbin, Vanderbilt has advanced to the conference championship game.

So what has been the key ingredient to winning in Hoover?

"Pitching and defense," Corbin stated. "In this ballpark that’s all we talk about, pitching and defense. I’m really proud of how we’ve played defense and pitched more than anything."

The starting pitching trio of Mike Minor (9.0), Sonny Gray (7.0), and Caleb Cotham (7.2) have combined to throw 23.2 of a total 25.0 innings so far in the Commodores' three victories this week. They have a combined ERA of 2.35 with 23 strikeouts and seven walks in that span.

Vanderbilt has been sound defensively as well, playing error-free ball for all three games in the tournament.

While VU took home the title in 2007 as the top seed and favorite, this time around they did it the hard way as the eighth and final seed. The 'Dores are trying to become the first team in that spot to win the championship.

Corbin reflected on what it means to make it to another finale in Hoover.

"I just like the tournament a lot. You’re a part of the country’s top conference and to have a chance to win the tournament of that conference is a big deal. There are just not a lot of kids that participate in the 12 schools that get the opportunity to do it. And frankly, we’ve been a part of that the past few years. To have the opportunity to be nine innings away from winning your conference’s title in a tournament, that’s a big deal. Those kids will remember those things forever as well as the coaches. Hopefully we’ll be able to play well."

Vanderbilt will face top seed LSU at noon CT today. Follow the action on

LSU game preview

Read today's Southeastern Conference tournament championship preview with notes - click here

Championship game starter is....

by SID - Nick Christiani (5-5, 4.94 ERA)

Senior right-hander Nick Christiani is the most experienced pitcher on the Vanderbilt staff. He is the only pitcher on the roster that has been active during the run of three championship game appearances in four years dating back to 2006.

He is 11th on the Vanderbilt career wins list with 19 (19-15, 4.69 ERA) and has 222 strikeouts and 93 walks in 245.2 innings pitched. The New Jersey native will be making his 35th career start and second SEC tourney start.

He went 6.1 innings against South Carolina on May 23, 2008, and allowed one run on five hits with four strikeouts and two walks in the winning effort.

Christiani is 1-1 in three career tournament appearances with a 3.48 ERA.

Saturday, May 23, 2009

And it is LSU

by SID - A long day at the yard is complete as LSU just defeated Georgia, 3-2, to advance to Sunday's championship game against the Commodores.

It will be a battle of the last two tournament champs as the Tigers won in 2008 and Vanderbilt in 2007.

LSU is trying to achieve the same feat VU did in 2007, losing the first game of the tourney (4-1 to the Commodores) and running off five straight wins to the title.

The Dores were done with their game early in the afternoon and have spent most of the time resting up for Sunday's contest. The Tigers will have about eight to nine hours of rest before getting back out again in search of back-to-back crowns.

Can't wait.

Interview with Kendall Rogers,

by Barca Blog - While were were waiting out a rain delay during the first Georgia/LSU semifinal matchup earlier today, Eric Jones interviewed Kendall Rogers, the college baseball editor for Yahoo! Sports and, about a variety of topics ranging anywhere from the Commodores annual run of success at Regions Park to guessing what would happen if the remaining tournament games were cancelled due to inclement weather (you have to understand that we had already sat through two hours of the worst storm in Hoover since 1922, so speculating is always fun... even if it isn't factual).

Watch the clip below... and keep an eye out for intern Travis and Marcus "Hedgehog" Shanks at the end of the video.

Who do you throw?

by SID - After the Arkansas game Coach Corbin was asked about the pitching options for tomorrow's championship game and he basically said it depends on the team Vanderbilt is facing.

"We have a lot of guys that haven't pitched yet but are very eager to pitch," said Corbin. "You don't ever come into this tournament thinking that guys are going to be sitting on the bench and not pitching, you think you're going to use a lot of guys."

So far the trio of Mike Minor, Sonny Gray and Caleb Cotham have combined to pitch 23 and 2/3 of a possible 25 innings for the Commodores. They have allowed six runs on 19 hits with 23 strikeouts and seven walks in that span with a 2.35 ERA.

Chase Reid (0.2), Richie Goodenow (0.1), Russell Brewer (0.1) and Sean Bierman (0.0) are the only other pitchers to throw this weekend. All of them should be refreshed and ready to go on Sunday.

What does this mean? Well normal Sunday starter Drew Hayes has yet to pitch. Neither has senior right-hander Nick Christiani or sophomore righty Taylor Hill. How bout sophomore right-hander Mark Lamm or freshman southpaw Grayson Garvin? Or freshman right-hander Big Jack Armstrong?

As Coach Corbin mentioned it does really depend on the team. If it is Georgia, a hard throwing right-hander would likely be the choice. If it is LSU, the southpaws: Grayson Garvin or Sean Bierman would likely be the first candidates with Richie Goodenow getting a shot in relief.

One thing for sure, Corbin will have plenty of options, a rarity in a tournament situation like this.

"We've just been fortunate to this point," added Corbin. "We'll just wait to see who we play."

ALERT: SEC Baseball Championship game moved to noon CT Sunday

Due to impending rain storms on Sunday afternoon in the Birmingham area, the SEC has announced it will move the baseball tournament championship game from 3 p.m. CT to a Noon CT start.

The SEC will have a live webcast of the contest on . Fans in the Nashville area can catch the radio broadcast live on WNSR 560 AM. The game will be televised regionally on Fox Sports Net on a tape-delayed basis starting at 3 p.m.

Walkup tickets will be available at Regions Park.


Georgia-LSU Game 1

by SID - LSU got off to a fast start, scoring seven runs in the frame before the pouring rain caused the game to be delayed for nearly five hours. Georgia head coach Dave Perno was visibly upset cause the rain was pouring down from the very beginning of the game and was only halted after LSU scored seven runs and the puddles in the field started to form.

Whatever the case, their will be an if-necessary game about 35 minutes after this game is complete.

Video: Arkansas game highlights

by Barca Blog - Watch highlights (below) of Vanderbilt's
11-1 win over Arkansas in the SEC Tournament semifinals Saturday.

SEC Championship Tickets Available

Plenty of walkup tickets remain for Sunday's SEC championship game. Come out and support the Commodores in Hoover, Ala.

Video: Postgame press conference

by Barca Blog - Watch video (below) of Vanderbilt's press conference following the Commodores' 11-1 win over Arkansas in the 2009 SEC Tournament semifinals Saturday. Participants include head coach Tim Corbin, shortstop Brian Harris, DH Aaron Westlake, and pitcher Caleb Cotham.

Haven't got time for pain

by Eric Jones - The news of Caleb Cotham’s relegation to the bullpen due to a partially torn left meniscus may have been premature. Cotham was back on the mound today allowing just one run on five hits through seven innings while striking out seven to get a crucial win. It was the first complete game of his college career as his Commodore teammates run-ruled the Razorbacks in seven innings, 11-1.

“To be honest, there was no pain today,” said Cotham who had stymied Arkansas once already back on April 11 in Fayetteville striking out a career-best 12 in a 13-6 victory. “Coach (Corbin) asked me last night if I thought that I could start, and I told him that I felt good about it. We are playing great right now and I knew that if I could pitch well, it would allow us to have just about everyone ready for tomorrow’s game.”

The start for the former Mt. Juliet (TN) High School standout might also serve as an audition for more starts in the post-season. While Cotham has been effective in relief (3.1 IP, 1 ER, 4 K’s in 4 appearances), the prospect of having three legitimate starters with top of the rotation stuff is too good to pass up if the Commodores are able to get into the NCAA Regional picture.

“Now after the fact, we were just trying to see how many innings we could get out of him,” explained Tim Corbin. “I asked him a lot of questions last night, can you pick guys off, can you field bunts, how do you think that your stamina will be going into the fourth or fifth inning? Those were all key components into us making the decision. Now we know that if he is anything close to what he was like today, he can give us good innings and hold his velocity through the sixth or seventh inning.”

In college baseball, the team who has the most arms usually holds the advantage in a tournament. At least through three games, the Commodores will argue that the quality of those arms is actually the key.

(Photo by Jimmy Jones)

'Dores advance to SEC championship

Vanderbilt just defeated Arkansas 11-1 in seven innings Saturday to advance to Sunday's SEC Championship. The game was stopped due to the 10-run mercy rule that goes into effect during tournament play. The Commodores will next play either Georgia or LSU.

Check back for a complete coverage later tonight on

Mid-Game Report

by Barca Blog - Vanderbilt scored four in the fourth to take a 4-0 lead over Arkansas in the SEC Tournament semifinals. Curt Casali led off with a homer to left, his ninth of the year. Joe Loftus also contributed a RBI single while Brian Harris registered his first hit (in 12 plate appearances) of the tournament, a double to left center that scored two.

Caleb Cotham has looked outstanding so far in his first start since May 3, allowing no runs and only three hits while striking out six through five.

Follow the rest of the game here.

Bubble talk

by Barca Blog - College baseball experts thought Vanderbilt (33-24) had slipped from a NCAA Tournament lock to a bubble team after the Commodores were swept by Tennessee in the regular season finale last weekend at Hawkins Field.

The pressure was on to get a few wins at the SEC Tournament this week. If Vanderbilt had gone 0-2 in Hoover, their postseason case would have been on life support with six straight losses to end the season.

So with wins over LSU and South Carolina, are the 'Dores now a lock to make their fourth consecutive NCAA Regional? Head coach Tim Corbin thinks so.

"All I felt we needed to do was win a game or two to dignify why we were here," Corbin stated following Thursday's 5-4 win over the Gamecocks. "Once we dignified why we were here you say, ‘Okay, you beat LSU, you beat South Carolina, both teams ahead of us. Our RPI’s going to slide to the high 30’s.' You know, I’d hate to play us. You have to face (Mike) Minor and (Sonny) Gray."

The Commodores are currently 36th in Boyd's unofficial RPI. They have series wins over Florida (6th in RPI), Arkansas (12), and Georgia (19) and regular season victories over Louisville (21), Middle Tennessee (38) and Western Kentucky (40). Also, throw in wins over LSU (13) and South Carolina (25) in Hoover this week.

Kendall Rogers of believes the Commodores have done enough to merit a NCAA bid:

"It’s safe to say the Commodores will make an NCAA regional," Rogers wrote in his blog Friday. "Vandy took a step forward in its SEC tournament opener with a win over LSU. The ‘Dores likely finalized their postseason plans with a 5-4 win over South Carolina. In our eyes, Vandy now is a slam dunk to make the postseason."

While the Commodores had a letdown against the Vols, the team has responded with a chip on their shoulder with all the talk that they were lucky to be in Hoover as the eighth and final seed.

"We’ve heard a lot of people talking about how we backed into the (SEC) tournament," pitcher Chase Reid said, "but we don’t believe that. Our body of work got us here. We’ve had a lot of big games against top-25 teams and we just wanted to come here and prove we belong."

A little info on Arkansas

by SID We all know about the up and down season the Commodores have had, but Arkansas has had a tough season as well.

When the Commodores visited Fayetteville on Easter Weekend, the Razorbacks were ranked No. 1 in the country in one poll and had just captured two midweek games from the team ranked No. 1 in the other four major polls: Arizona State. They were 24-6 overall and in first place overall in the SEC with a 10-2 mark.

VU, on the other hand, was 19-13 overall and 5-7 in league play. The Dores thought they were getting back on track with a series win over Florida the weekend prior, but were brought back down to earth with an 8-0 shutout loss to Middle Tennessee in mid-week play.

The Hogs had all the momentum, so what happened? Mike Minor blanked the Hogs, 9-0, on Friday night and then Caleb Cotham held them in check in a 13-6 win on Saturday. The third game was cancelled due to rain.

Since that time, Arkansas has gone 10-13 overall, including 4-13 in league play. They are now out of four of the five major polls, with the National Collegiate Baseball Writers the lone poll ranking the Razorbacks (No. 20).

In addition, Arkansas has battled through some injuries in the tournament as they have played without leading hitter Scott Lyons (.313, 7 HR, 38 RBI) who collided with Ole Miss third baseman Zack Miller in the regular season series finale last weekend. Shortstop Ben Tschepikow (.307, 8 HR, 38 RBI) is also out of the starting lineup after dislocating his left pinkie finger against Georgia on Thursday. Both could see action in a reserve role. Arkansas started seven freshmen in yesterday's 10-7 win over Florida and have six in the starting lineup this morning.

Arkansas' starting pitcher is T.J. Forrest (2-5, 5.62 ERA) a big righthander who started against Cotham in the Saturday game at Fayetteville. VU touched him for five runs on five hits in 4.1 innings with two strikeouts and three walks.

It's almost gametime.