Vanderbilt opens series with UIC Thursday
March 5, 2008
VANDERBILT GAMEDAY CENTRAL
Vanderibilt leads 4-2 all-time including a three-game sweep a year ago.
2007 Results (Nashville)
03/09/07: VU 2, UIC 1
03/10/07: VU 1, UIC 0
03/11/07: VU 14, UIC 5
Vanderbilt is ranked in all the national polls, with a high ranking of No. 5 by Rivals.com. Baseball America ranks the Dores No. 7, with the National Collegiate Baseball Writers Association and Collegiate Baseball ranking them No. 10. The ESPN/Sports Weekly Coaches Poll has VU at No. 11 this week. Illinois-Chicago is not ranked this week. All of the National Polls can be found on page 6 of the release.
VU's Tim Corbin is 204-110 in his sixth season as head coach. He is 3-0 against the Flames all-time. Illinois-Chicago's Mike Dee is 306-205-1 in his 10th season in Chicago.
All three games will be an internet only broadcast via www.vucommodores.com. Eric Jones is in his second season calling the action prior to the end of the basketball season. This weekend's games are also going to be webcast on vucommodores.com. Live stats via Gametracker can also be accessed through Vanderbilt Athletics official website.
What's On Tap
Vanderbilt closes out its non-conference weekend schedule this week as Illinois-Chicago comes in for a four-game series. The teams will open on Thursday and Friday at 4 p.m. with a 2 p.m. start on Saturday and a 1 p.m. first pitch on Sunday. The two teams played a three-game series in Nashville a year ago with the Commodores winning the first two by one run (2-1 and 1-0), before finishing with a 14-5 decision in the Sunday finale.
Illinois-Chicago is 2-4 on the year after winning two of three at the QTI Baylor Classic in Waco, Texas. The Flames beat Stephen F. Austin and Illinois, while losing a 5-4 decision to the host Bears. UIC finished 35-21 overall and in first place in the Horizon League last season with at 21-6.
Third baseman Tony Altavilla leads the team with a .444 average to with two doubles and two RBI. As a team, UIC is hitting .278 with 13 doubles, a homer and 23 RBI.
The Flames will start a righthander in the first three games, with the Sunday starter to be determined. Grant Kohlstaedt (1-1, 4.50 ERA) will start on Thursday, Derrick Miramontes (0-0, 3.09 ERA) on Friday and Mike Kool (1-1, 7.04 ERA) on Saturday.
Vanderbilt are 4-1 in the last five games ... The Commodores hit .383 with 15 doubles, three triples, four homers and 42 RBI in the five games, while the pitching staff sported a 3.00 ERA with 53 strikeouts and 14 walks in 45.0 innings of work ... Shortstop Ryan Flaherty had his SEC record 38 game hitting streak snapped against Evansville last Wednesday ... Sophomore lefthander Mike Minor continued his efficient streak on the mound in the 7-1 win over Kansas. He had a no-hitter through five and finished with three hits allowed through 6.2 innings with nine strikeouts and three walks ... Redshirt freshman Russell Brewer pounded the strike zone in his last three outings. He picked up the win in relief against Evansville and finished with four strikeouts, no walks on one hit in 3.1 scoreless innings. Overall he has six strikeouts and no walks in 4.1 innings ... Freshman Chase Reid pitched 3.2 innings of scoreless relief against Iowa last Saturday, recording three strikeouts and three walks ... Fellow true freshman Taylor Hill and Sean Bierman also did not allow a run in their outings. Hill struck out three and gave up four hits in three shutout innings against Evansville, while Bierman struck out the side in his lone inning of the week against the Purple Aces ... Junior righthander Nick Christiani had his finest performance in a Commodore uniform, striking out a career high 12 in 8.1 innings (also career high) in start against Xavier on Sunday. He scattered seven hits over his outing, giving up three runs, two earned with just one walk ... Sophomore Andrew Giobbi made the most of his five starts in the field, going 9-for-21 (.429) with four doubles and seven RBI ... David Macias (8-for-20, .400, 8 runs) also has been hot in last five ... Junior Jonathan White hit the first homer for the Dores at Hawkins Field against Xavier on Sunday. He went 5-for-12 (.417) last week with three RBI and four runs scored ... Senior Dominic de la Osa added four stolen bases and is now 5-for-7 on the year ... Freshman catcher Curt Casali made the most of his first career start, going 3-for-5 with a double and four RBI against Xavier. He followed that up with a 3-for-3 day against Louisville with two walks three runs scored ... The Dores pounded out a season high 21 hits against the Muskeeters. Sophomore Brian Harris went 3-for-4 in his start against XU with two doubles and a career best three RBI. Redshirt freshman Jordan Wormsley hit a triple in his first career at bat on Sunday ... Of redshirt freshman Steven Liddle's three hits on the week, two were triples ... The Commodores were without the services of first baseman Brad French on Saturday and Sunday due to the flu. His absence on Saturday caused David Macias to move from the outfield and start at second base for the first time in college ... David Macias, Mike Minor, Alex Feinberg and Shea Robin were all named to the Music City Classic All-Tournament Team.
Minor Named To Clemens Award Watch List
Sophomore lefthander Mike Minor was named to the Clemens Award initial watch list this week. The award is given out to the top college pitcher in the country and was won by David Price a year ago.
Minor heads into Thursday's game with a 2-0 record and 1.42 ERA. He has 15 strikeouts and just three walks in 12.2 innings pitched on the year.
The Chapel Hill, Tenn., native went 9-1 with a 3.09 ERA with 88 strikeouts and 19 walks in 90.1 innings en route to Freshman All-American honors in 2007. He was named the SEC Freshman of the Year by sebaseball.com and also played on Team USA, finishing with a team best five wins and 1.64 ERA.
Cotham Comes Through
Redshirt freshman Caleb Cotham is making the most of his appearances with three strong outings to start the year. The Mount Juliet native threw three scoreless innings to pick up a save against Oregon State in the season opener on Feb. 22. He followed that up with a four-inning start against Evansville on Feb. 27 in which he did not allow a run on five hits while striking out three. In his latest outing against No. 21 Louisville on Tuesday, Cotham held the Cardinals scoreless through six innings before giving up his first run of the season (14.1 scoreless innings). He struck out nine and walked only one in temperatures below freezing. He is now 1-0 on the year with 15 strikeouts in 14.1 innings and is a candidate for the Sunday spot in the weekend rotation.
Feinberg Fires Team Past No. 21 Louisville
Alex Feinberg had three hits and five RBI as Vanderbilt scored 17 runs for the second straight game in a 17-6 win over No. 21 Louisville Tuesday afternoon at Hawkins Field.
The Commodores jumped out to a quick start scoring three runs in the first and three more in the third to take a 6-0 lead. Ryan Flaherty had a two-run homer in the first and Alex Feinberg added a three-run shot in the third.
VU took advantage of Cardinal miscues to score four runs in the fourth to take a 10-0 lead. They added two more in the sixth on RBI singles by Feinberg and Brian Harris.
Louisville plated two runs in the eighth off of VU starter Caleb Cotham. They were the first runs the Mt. Juliet native had given up in his career and in 14.1 innings this season. He gave up two more runs in the eighth and finished with four runs against him on seven hits in 7.1 innings with nine strikeouts and a walk.
Dominic de la Osa homered in the seventh after Vanderbilt gave up four runs in the eighth, the team responded with four runs of its own in the bottom half to close out the scoring. Ryan Flaherty, Brad French and Curt Casali had RBI singles in the inning.
Casali finished 3-for-3 with two walks, a RBI and three runs scored for his second straight three hit game. Flaherty added two hits and three RBI, while de la Osa had two hits and three runs scored in the 16 hit attack.
Russell Brewer closed out the game in the ninth, allowing just one hit while striking out two.
Pedro Alvarez Out For Six Weeks
Junior third baseman Pedro Alvarez will be sidelined indefinitely with a hand injury. The National Player of the Year candidate and two-time first-team All-American has a broken bone in his hand that will force him out of action for a minimum of six weeks. He had successful surgery on Feb. 28.
Alvarez suffered the injury in his first at-bat against Oregon State in the season opener and was held out of the following two games against Arizona State and Miami (Ohio).
The New York City native is considered the top junior professional prospect by Baseball America and is on the initial Golden Spikes and Brooks Wallace Award Watch Lists. He has led the USA Baseball National Team in hitting over the last two summers.
Alvarez entered the year with a career .359 batting average to go with 40 homers, 36 doubles and 132 RBI. His 40 homers is sixth all-time in school history and nine away from tying Scotti Madison's mark of 49 set in four seasons from 1977-80.
Players Pick Up Preseason Recognition
The preseason honors roll in for Vanderbilt baseball as three players were named to Baseball America's and Rivals.com All-American teams.
Junior third baseman Pedro Alvarez headlined the group as Rivals.com named him Preseason Player of the Year. Joining Alvarez in the publication's first-team All-America list is senior outfielder Dominic de la Osa and junior shortstop Ryan Flaherty.
Baseball America had Alvarez on its first-team, de la Osa on the second-team and Flaherty on its third-team.
Alvarez led the Commodores with a .386 batting average to go along with 18 homers and 68 RBI en route to unanimous All-American honors a year ago. He led the USA Baseball National Team in hitting for the second straight summer and is listed by Baseball America as the No. 1 college prospect entering the 2008 season.
De la Osa led the Commodores with 20 homers in the 2007 season and also batted .378 with 20 stolen bases and 62 RBIs. He was one of only three players in the country to have 20 homers and 20 stolen bases and was also a unanimous All-American selection. The Florida native was drafted in the 10th round by the Detroit Tigers, but returned to Vanderbilt for his senior year after playing the Cape Cod League over the summer.
Flaherty finished the spring with a .381 batting average to go with four homers, 23 doubles (tied for team high) and 57 RBI. He carries a school record 35-game hitting streak into the 2008 campaign. The Maine native was a second-team All-American by the American Baseball Coaches Association and Rivals.com and started at second base for the USA Baseball National Team over the summer. Garnered first-team plaudits.
USA Baseball recently named the threesome to the Golden Spikes Award Watch List.
Mike Minor joins the trio on the initial Brooks Wallace Award Watch List as well. Minor went 9-1 with a 3.09 ERA with 88 strikeouts and 19 walks in 90.1 innings en route to Freshman All-American honors. He was named the SEC Freshman of the Year by sebaseball.com and also played on Team USA, finishing with a team best five wins and 1.64 ERA.
Commodores Picked To Finish First in SEC (East) By Coaches
Vanderbilt is predicted to repeat as the 2008 Southeastern Conference baseball champions, as voted by the league's 12 baseball coaches in the 17th annual preseason SEC poll.
The Commodores, ranked as high as No. 3 nationally in the preseason polls, seek to capture their fifth SEC Championship, having also won titles in 1973, 1974, 1980 and 2007. Vanderbilt returns eight position starters and four pitchers from their 2007 squad, which also won the SEC Tournament and earned the National No. 1 Seed in the NCAA Tournament.
Since 1996, the SEC has named a regular season champion as well as a tournament champion. Prior to 1996, the tournament champion was considered the SEC Champion.
Alvarez and de la Osa Approaching School Homer Record
With 18 homers in 2007, Pedro Alvarez moved into sixth place on the school's career list with 40 total jacks. Also in the Top 10 after a stellar junior campaign is Dominic de la Osa with 37.
Alvarez needs nine more round-trippers and de la Osa needs 12 to tie Scotty Madison's mark of 49 set from 1977-80.
De la Osa has a couple of other school records within reach as well in career at-bats and doubles. He has 723 at-bats, trailing Boomer Whipple's mark of 809 set from 1992-95. De la Osa also has 50 career doubles, just 11 off the school mark of 61 set by Sean Luellwitz from 1999-2002.