by Barca Blog (Photo by Jimmy Jones)
Making their way
Cathaginian leader Hannibal Barca (248–183 BC), considered one of the greatest military tacticians ever, once proclaimed before battle: We will either find a way, or make one.
That quote came to mind when Vanderbilt manufactured their first run against Arkansas in the SEC Tournament last night after being held scoreless for the first five innings.
Aaron Westlake led off the the sixth with a walk, and then scored after a sacrifice bunt, ground out and wild pitch moved him across home plate.
The series of plays might not have been the most ideal way to get on the board -- especially without a hit -- but it resulted in the Dores' first lead of the game which proved to be the difference.
"The bunt by Curt (Casali) that moved me over to second base was huge," Westlake remarked. "We just played team baseball, especially in a park like this where it's hard to get a ball out of here. It’s more of a doubles, triples ballpark. We’re a team of pitching and defense, and manufacturing runs the way we did that first time is just what we’re about."
Westlake went the conventional route in his next at bat with a towering solo home run to the right of the 405' sign in center field. It was his fourth consecutive game going yard, each time against the Razorbacks.
Two different methods of offense, same result.
As Sonny Gray told me last night, winning the first game of a double-elimination tournament is huge, no matter if you're playing summer ball as a kid, or suiting up in front of thousands of fans at the SEC Tournament.
While teams have come out of the losers' bracket before to take the title (see 2007 Vanderbilt team), it's not recommended.
With a win over LSU Thursday night, the Commodores can stay in the driver's seat to make another appearance in the championship game, a place they've been in four of the last six seasons.
The award goes to senior shortstop Brian Harris, who stole a base hit away from Kyle Atkins in the bottom of the third. Harris dove to his left to snare the sharply-hit ground ball, and then threw a strike to Westlake at first to get the out. Watch the Play
Tweet of the day
Professional scouts and writers from across the country were in attendance Wednesday to get a first-hand look at some of the best prospects in college baseball.
Aaron Fitt from Baseball America tweeted this about Gray's performance:
"Seen some great arms today, but Sonny Gray is most electric of all. He's 93-95, touching 96, with 82-85 slider. Used SL for 2 Ks in 2nd."
Click Here to read more of Fitt's analysis of Gray.
Video of the day
Since Vanderbilt will face LSU tonight, let's look back at the greatest Tiger of all-time (with a guest appearance by acting legend Jerry O'Connell). I love how the commercial had the "time to beat" graphic at the bottom of the screen... Like we were holding our breath to see if "Vern" could break the record.