Alabama leads all-time 82-46-2 in a series that dates back to 1893. The Crimson Tide have won the last five meetings, six of seven and nine of 12 dating back to 2006.
Last Two Series April 18, 2009: Alabama 7, Vanderbilt 6 (Game 2- DH) - Nashville April 18, 2009: Alabama 7, Vanderbilt 3 (Game 1- DH) - Nashville April 17, 2009: Alabama 10, Vanderbilt 4 - Nashville March 23, 2008: Alabama 10, Vanderbilt 3 - Tuscaloosa March 22, 2008: Alabama 9, Vanderbilt 7 - Tuscaloosa March 21, 2008: Vanderbilt 2, Alabama 1 - Tuscaloosa
Vanderbilt is ranked No. 16 in the USA Today/ESPN coaches poll, No. 18 in Collegiate Baseball, No. 19 in Baseball America, No. 22 by Rivals.com. Alabama is ranked No. 21 in the USA Today/ESPN coaches poll and by Collegiate Baseball.
VU’s Tim Corbin is 291-159 in his eighth season in Nashville. He is 397-297 in 14 seasons overall. Corbin is 7-11 against Alabama. UA’s Mitch Gaspard is 14-1 in his first season as head coach of the Crimson Tide and 225-129 in seven years overall.
All of Vanderbilt’s games this weekend can be heard in Nashville on 560 AM WNSR. Fans can also listen via the internet at www.vucommodores.com. Eric Jones and/or Joe Fisher will call this weekend’s action.
Saturday’s contest will be televised regionally on Fox Sports Net. Dave Neal (play-by-play) and Larry Conley (analysis) will broacast the game.
Sunday’s game will be televised regionally on Comcast Sports (CSS). Matt Stewart (play-by-play) and Scott McClanahan (analysis) will call the action.
Fans can also sign up for text updates via www.twitter.com/vandybaseball and follow livestats for every game.
What’s On Tap
Vanderbilt opens Southeastern Conference play this weekend at No. 21 Alabama. The Commodores and Crimson Tide will open on Friday at 6:35 p.m. and will continue on Saturday at 3 p.m. and on Sunday at 2 p.m. The latter two contests will be televised regionally on Fox Sports Net (Saturday) and CSS (Sunday).
Alabama is 14-1 on the season and enter the weekend as winners of six straight after sweeping a pair of midweek games against Minnesota. Mitch Gaspard is in his first season as head coach of the Tide after previously serving as an assistant to Jim Wells, who retired over the summer.
Sophomore centerfielder Taylor Dugas leads the SEC in hitting with a .463 batting average. He has 12 walks and only one strikeout thus far and boasts a .561 slugging percentage. Junior shortstop Josh Rutledge is second on the team with a .403 batting average with three homers and 20 RBI. Senior first baseman Clay Jones is making the most of his first full-time duty, hitting .365 with five homers and 23 RBI to lead the team in the latter two categories. As a team, UA is batting .328 with 14 homers, 30 doubles and 135 runs scored (nine per game).
Alabama’s rotation for the weekend will be sophomore left-hander Adam Morgan (2-0, 3.27 ERA) on Friday, junior right-hander Jimmy Nelson (3-0, 0.82 ERA) on Saturday and freshman southpaw Taylor Wolfe (2-0, 2.45 ERA) on Sunday. The Crimson Tide have a 3.26 team ERA with 133 strikeouts and 39 walks in 132.2 innings pitched.
Defensively Bama has made just 12 errors on the year and has a .979 fielding percentage, second best in the SEC.
Commodores in SEC openers
Vanderbilt is 4-3 in SEC opening series under Tim Corbin and 4-3 in opening games of the series. This weekend will mark the first time under Corbin that the Commodores have opened against Alabama.
Commodores open strong
At 15-2, VU enters SEC play with its best opening record since going 19-0 in 2007 (the streak extended to 20-0 with the series opening win over Ole Miss). The Commodores entered this week winners of 10 straight before falling to WKU on Tuesday. Vanderbilt enters the weekend tops in the SEC with a .352 batting average and second in the conference with a .352 batting average. Seven offensive starters are hitting .330 or better, while 11 of the 12 pitchers that have seen action this year have ERA’s under 3.65.
Giobbi named to Johnny Bench Award Watch List
Senior catcher Andrew Giobbi was one of 10 catchers added this week to the official watch list for the 2010 Coleman Company-Johnny Bench Award.
The Portland, Maine, native has had an outstanding season thus far behind the plate, having thrown out 12 of 19 runners attempting to steal. He has also caught a pitching staff that has a stellar 2.77 team ERA, second best in the SEC. This is the second year in a row “Gio” has been named to the watch list.
The watch list will be narrowed down to the semifinalists, whom will be announced May 19, 2010. Ballots will be sent to the national voting panel at the end of May for a vote to determine the three finalists. The finalists will be announced June 2, 2010 prior to the NCAA Regionals and Major League Baseball Draft. A final vote among the national committee will occur during the College World Series. All finalists will be brought to Wichita and the winner will be announced at the 13th Annual Greater Wichita Sports Banquet on July 1, 2010.
Junior first baseman/catcher Curt Casali is day-to-day with a hamstring injury and may not play this weekend in Alabama. Casali injured the hamstring on a defensive play at first base against Indiana on March 7 and has missed the last six games.
At the time of the injury Casali led the SEC in hitting with a .486 average, along with three homers and 11 RBI. While his average is still the best in the league, he doesn’t meet the minimum plate appearances in order to be ranked.
The junior from New Canaan, Conn., had Tommy John surgery over the summer and was finally healthy after playing last season with the arm injury.
Vanderbilt’s 10-game winning streak was snapped in Tuesday’s 17-2 loss to WKU. It was the biggest defeat for the Commodores in the Tim Corbin era and the largest margin since losing 18-2 at LSU in 2001 ... VU rebounded against the Hilltoppers on Wednesday, scoring nine first inning runs en route to a 17-6 win ... Jason Esposito was a triple short of the cycle and hit his fourth homer of the year, tying his career high as a freshman ... VU currently leads the conference in batting average (.352) and is second in ERA (2.77) ... Freshman Anthony Gomez has a 10 game hitting streak, including five games in which he had just one at-bat ... Corey Williams picked up his first collegiate win against Western Kentucky on Wednesday throwing two scoreless innings ... Junior Chase Reid suffered his first collegiate loss on Tuesday. He entered that contest with a 9-0 ledger in three seasons and gave up eight runs, two earned, on seven hits in 3.2 innings. … VU hit .363 last week with nine homers, 10 doubles and 35 runs scored ... The pitching staff sported a 2.00 ERA with 30 strikeouts and 10 walks in 36.0 innings … Drew Hayes pitched 4.2 innings of one-hit scoreless relief in two appearances with five strikeouts. He picked up his first win of the year against Ohio on Saturday … Jack Armstrong recorded his longest collegiate outing, pitching 6.2 innings of four-hit ball against Ohio on Sunday. He allowed just one run while striking out four in his second win of the year … Will Clinard allowed one run on five hits in four innings against UT Martin on Wednesday and picked up his first collegiate win … Russell Brewer pitched three innings of one-hit relief with four strikeouts in two games. He picked up his second save of the year in Saturday’s win over Ohio and now has 14 saves in his career. He trails David Daniels (1992-95) by one for second place and leader Ryan Rote (2004-05) by five … Brian Harris went 6-for-12 (.500) with a double, triple and five RBI. He was hit five times and now has been hit 12 times on the year … Aaron Westlake missed the midweek game, but returned to action over the weekend and went 4-for-9 (.444) with two homers and five RBI ... Jason Esposito was 6-for-15 (.400) with a double, homer and five RBI … Joe Loftus was 6-for-16 (.375) with three homers and five RBI. He hit homers in three straight games before ending the streak against Ohio on Sunday… Bryan Johns had a 12 game hitting streak snapped against Ohio on Saturday … Connor Harrell went 4-for-10 on the weekend with a homer, his first collegiate one, two doubles and four RBI. His three-run double against Ohio on Saturday, rallied the Commodores from a 4-3 deficit in the eighth inning … Mike Yastrzemski was 4-for-11 (.364) with his first collegiate homer against Ohio on Friday … Anthony Gomez played in three games, starting one and was 4-for-5 with two doubles and two runs scored … Vanderbilt has now outscored its opponents 153-63 in 17 games on the year.