by SID (Photo by Jimmy Jones)
Record Overall: 35-13, 12-10 SEC
Record for the Week: 2-1
5/7: LSU 16, Vanderbilt 15 (10)
5/8: Vanderbilt 6, LSU 2
5/9: Vanderbilt 4, LSU 3
5/11: vs. Louisville, 6 p.m., Nashville (Flood Relief Game)
5/14: at Mississippi State, 6:30 p.m. CT, Starkville
5/15: at Mississippi State, 2 p.m. CT, Starkville
5/16: at Mississippi State, 1:30 p.m. CT, Starkville
Vanderbilt went 2-1 on the week, capturing its first Southeastern Conference road series of the year against defending national champion LSU … The Commodores handed the Tigers their first SEC home series loss of the year and the first since dropping two of three to Tennessee last year. VU has now won the last three series against LSU dating back to the 2006 season.
As a team, VU hit .308 with four homers, six doubles, a triple and 25 runs scored in the three games ... Freshman second baseman Anthony Gomez (the nation’s top freshman in batting average) went 6-for-13 (.462) on the weekend with six runs scored, a homer and two RBI. He hit his first collegiate homer with two outs in the ninth against the Tigers Friday night, tying the game at 15-15.
Sophomore outfielder Joe Loftus seemed comfortable at the plate in Baton Rouge going 6-for-14 (.429) with two doubles, a triple, a homer, seven RBI and four runs scored. He was a single away from the cycle on Friday night after notching a career best five RBI and then game up with the game-winning two-out two-run single in the eighth inning of Sunday’s 4-3 win over the Tigers.
Third baseman Jason Esposito had a great weekend at the plate and in the field: going 5-for-12 (.417) with a double, three stolen bases and four runs scored while also playing a flawless third base with three putouts and 12 assists in the three games. Aaron Westlake went 5-for-14 (.357) with a double, four RBI and two runs scored
After the pitching staff combined to give up 16 runs on a season high 19 hits allowed, they buckled down under the steady pitching of Saturday starter Taylor Hill and Sunday starter Jack Armstrong … A day after the offensive barrage, Hill held the Tigers scoreless for 8.2 innings before giving up a two-out, two-run single in the ninth. He closed out the game for his first collegiate complete game, allowing the two runs on seven hits with eight strikeouts and a walk.
Jack Armstrong followed that performance up on Sunday, allowing two runs on six hits in 7.2 innings with three strikeouts and two walks. He left the game with the Commodores holding a 4-2 lead and is now 6-1 on the year.
Sonny Gray had his shortest starting outing of his career on Friday against LSU, allowing seven runs on seven hits in three innings with four walks and three strikeouts. The resilient sophomore bounced back from that outing, asking for the ball in relief on Sunday. He picked up his first save of the year with 1.1 innings of two-hit relief, allowing one run while striking out three.
As a team the pitching staff had a 6.18 ERA with 26 strikeouts and 10 walks in 27.2 innings pitched. Take out the Friday anomaly and the staff (consisting of Hill, Armstrong and Gray) sported a 2.50 ERA with 14 strikeouts and four walks in 18.0 innings, limiting the Tigers to a .217 average.
The Commodores return home for a special midweek game against Top 10 ranked Louisville on Tuesday at 6 p.m. at Hawkins Field. Vanderbilt athletics will open up the remaining tickets for the game (approximately 1,300 available at 8:30 a.m. in the Ticket Office on Tuesday). Donations will be accepted for the Nashville chapter of the American Red Cross to go to flood relief efforts. In addition whatever tickets were sold (single game and season tickets), those proceeds will be donated from the Athletic department to the Red Cross as well as all monies collected by concessions … VU will then have its final SEC road trip of the year at Mississippi State next weekend in Starkville.