Baseball travels to Auburn

March 26, 2009

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Vanderbilt (16-8, 2-4 SEC) vs. Auburn (16-8, 2-4 SEC) - Plainsman Park (4,096)

Friday, March 27 at 6 p.m. CT; Saturday, March 28 at 3 p.m.; Sunday, March 29 at 1 p.m.

Series History vs. Auburn

Auburn leads 75-34 in a series that dates back to 1912. The Commodores have won the last four series dating back to the 2002 season. AU leads 29-9 in games played in Auburn all-time.

Last Two Seasons

April 20. 2008 - Vanderbilt 9, Auburn 5 (Nashville)
April 19, 2008 - Vanderbilt 8, Auburn 2 (Nashville)
April 18, 2008 - Auburn 6, Vanderbilt 3 (Nashville)
May 13, 2007 - Auburn 5, Vanderbilt 4 (Auburn)
May 12, 2007 - Vanderbilt 6, Auburn 5 (10) (Auburn)
May 11, 2007 - Vanderbilt 10, Auburn 5 (Auburn )


Neither team is ranked in this week’s polls.

The Coaches

VU’s Tim Corbin is 255-138 in his seventh season in Nashville. He is 361-276 in 13 seasons overall. He is 9-4 against the Tigers and has never lost a series to them in four chances. Auburn’s John Pawlowski is 16-8 in his first season at Auburn and 354-200-1 in 10 seasons overall. He went 338-192-1 in nine years at the College of Charleston prior to arriving in Auburn last summer.


All three contests can be heard in the Nashville area on 560 AM WNSR and on the internet via Saturday’s game will be joined in progress upon completion of Vanderbilt’s women’s basketball NCAA tourney contest. Joe Fisher will call all the action. Auburn will be offering a live video webcast on a pay-per-view basis as well as live stats. Links to both can be accessed through Fans can also sign up for text updates via

What’s On Tap

Vanderbilt hits the road for the second straight weekend in Southeastern Conference play, taking on Auburn starting on Friday at 6 p.m. CT. The teams will play again on Saturday at 3 p.m. and will close the set out Sunday at 1 p.m.

Scouting Auburn

Auburn is 16-8 overall and 2-4 in SEC play after getting swept by Arkansas at home last weekend. The Tigers pounded Samford, 18-7, on Tuesday while Wednesday’s game against Troy was cancelled due to rain.

AU has seven offensive starters and eight pitchers back from last season’s team that finished 28-28 overall and 11-19 in SEC play.

Centerfielder Trent Mummey leads the team with a .389 batting average to go with 10 homers and 27 RBI. Third baseman Joseph Sanders is the top power source with 11 homers and 35 RBI to go with a .327 batting average. The Tigers are hitting .306 as a team with 51 homers and 204 runs scored (8.5 per game).

Left-hander Grant Dayton (2-2, 2.67 ERA) will start in the opener Friday night, with right-hander Jon Luke Jacobs (2-0, 4.97 ERA) scheduled to go on Saturday. The Tigers starter on Sunday is to be determined. The team sports a 5.31 ERA with 199 strikeouts and 84 walks in 215.1 innings.

Reid Revival

Sophomore hurler Chase Reid had a rough start to the season after his first two outings, but has since rebounded with 13.1 innings of scoreless work in his last five outings. Reid came into the Stanford (Feb. 20) game in the season opener with runners on the corners and the Commodores holding a 5-1 in the sixth. He ended up allowing both those runners to score as well as two more of his own as Stanford plated four in the inning to tie the game. Reid started against Western Kentucky (Feb. 26) and gave up three runs on seven hits in five innings of work with three strikeouts and two walks to pick up the win. The Southlake, Texas native has rolled since then, not allowing a run in four relief appearances as well as a three-inning start against Wright State on Wednesday. What started as a 54.00 ERA after the Stanford game is now at 2.41 entering the Auburn opener on Friday.

Reynolds Raises Up

Freshman infielder Riley Reynolds has come on strong of late and become one of the catalysts for the young Commodores offense. The Missouri native is 10-for-26 (.357) with four doubles, a triple and six runs scored in his last eight games. He has walked five times and has been hit once with a .471 on base percentage as well. For the season, Reynolds is now hitting .338 and is tied for third with seven stolen bases. He carries a six game hitting streak into this weekend’s action against Auburn.

Commodores Blank Wright State

Five Vanderbilt pitchers combined to record the team’s first shutout of the season in a 4-0 win over Wright State Wednesday night at Hawkins Field.

The Commodores (16-8) combination of Chase Reid, Grayson Garvin, Drew Hayes, Richie Goodenow and Sonny Gray held the Raiders (10-13) to just four hits a day after they beat No. 1 Georgia 8-5 in Athens.

Reid extended his scoreless inning streak to 13.1 innings with three innings of two-hit ball to move to 3-0 on the year. Garvin came on in the fourth and pitched two innings of one-hit relief with two strikeouts and a walk. Hayes then extended his own scoreless inning-streak to 11.1 innings with two innings of one-hit relief. Richie Goodenow and Sonny Gray pitched a perfect inning of relief each to close out the game.

The Commodores got on the board in the first on a RBI single by Curt Casali. They added two more runs in the third and another in the fifth on a RBI triple by Steven Liddle.

Riley Reynolds and Steven Liddle had two hits each to lead the Dores who managed just six hits on the night.

Sonny Days

Freshman right-hander was expected to make an immediate impact on the program and has done just that through the first month of the season. The Smyrna native has established himself as the closer out of the pen and leads the team with three saves. He is 1-0 on the season with a 0.60 ERA in nine appearances. Gray has 13 strikeouts and six walks in 15.0 innings of action and has limited opponents to just a .204 batting average.

Dores Win 12th Straight Over Austin Peay

Vanderbilt rallied from a 4-1 deficit with a five-run third inning and went on to defeat Austin Peay, 10-5, in baseball action Tuesday night at Hawkins Field.

The Commodores won their 12th straight over the Govs dating back to the 2002 season.

Alex McClure, son of Austin Peay head coach Gary McClure, ignited the rally in the third with a leadoff single. Brian Harris reached on a fielding error by Govs shortstop Jon Clinard and Steven Liddle was hit by a pitch from starter Ryne Mantooth to load the bases. Curt Casali and Aaron Westlake came through with back-to-back RBI singles to cut the lead to 4-3. Joe Loftus walked to load the bases again and Richie Goodenow then brought in a run when he was walked on four pitches. Jason Esposito added a RBI single and Jonathan White had a sacrifice fly RBI to close out the scoring in the inning.

Adam Browett’s RBI single in the fourth cut the lead to 6-5, but Loftus responded for the Dores with a solo homer in the fifth, his second round-tripper of the season, to make it 7-5. Brian Harris scored from third in the sixth and VU added two more runs in the seventh with McClure coming up with a RBI single in the frame.

Sean Bierman (2-1) came on in relief of starter Russell Brewer in the third and gave up a run on four hits in five innings of work with seven strikeouts and two walks to pick up the win. Taylor Hill and Jack Armstrong closed out the contest with an inning of hitless relief each. Armstrong looked impressive, striking out the side to end the game.

Winds played a factor early in the game as gusts approached 20-25 miles an hour. Michael Blanchard led off the game with a solo homer to left-center, his first collegiate circuit clout. The Govs had four hits in the frame and scored two more runs on a RBI single by Matt Kole and a sacrifice fly RBI by Ryne Mantooth.

Brian Harris then led off the Commodores half with a solo homer to left-center, his second homer of the year. He finished the day 2-for-4 with three runs scored.

Blanchard added a RBI single in the second to extend the lead to 4-1. He finished the day 2-for-4 with two RBI, while Browett led the team with a 3-for-4 evening.

Mantooth (1-4) was charged with the loss for Austin Peay, allowing six runs, four earned, on four hits in 2.1 innings of work.

Andrew Giobbi Returns To Action

Junior catcher Andrew Giobbi returned to action this week after missing the last three weeks with a broken hand. He suffered the injury to his left hand in his first at bat against Vermont on Feb. 27 and still finished out the game behind the plate. Since that time he had missed 16 games before returning as a pinch-runner against Austin Peay on Tuesday. He came on in the sixth as a pinch-hitter against Wright State the next day and played left field the next two innings. He is expected to see increased playing time this weekend against Auburn and should return to catching duties in the next few weeks.

Commodore Tidbits

Vanderbilt went 3-2 last week, winning a pair of midweek games against South Alabama and Belmont, while losing two of three at Kentucky over the weekend … The Commodores 2-4 start in SEC play is the worst since the 2003 squad went 2-4 in Tim Corbin’s first season in Nashville … The team posted a .259 batting average in five games with nine doubles and 25 runs scored … The pitching staff had a strong week with a 3.35 ERA with 40 strikeouts and 17 walks in 43.0 innings … Freshman second baseman was one of the bright spots offensively going 6-for-13 (.462) on the week with two doubles, a triple, one RBI and three runs scored. He also walked four times and was hit by a pitch for a .611 on base percentage … Fellow freshman Jason Esposito went 7-for-21 (.333) with two doubles and three runs scored. He also stole two bases and is 10-for-11 now on the year … Chase Reid extended his scoreless innings pitched streak to 10.1 innings over four appearances. He made two appearances on the week and held batters to just three hits in 5.1 innings of work with seven strikeouts and no walks. His ERA has lowered from 54.00 to 2.87 … Also on a scoreless streak in relief is Drew Hayes who hasn’t allowed a run in 9.2 innings over five appearances. He has recorded 11 strikeouts and four walks in that time while lowering his ERA from 9.00 to 2.92 … Sonny Gray pitched 3.0 innings of three-hit shutout relief against Kentucky in Sunday’s win. He struck out two and walked two in earning his team leading third save of the year. Gray currently leads the team with a 0.64 ERA over eight appearances … Nick Christiani earned the win on Sunday over UK, scattering seven hits over six innings of work with five strikeouts and two walks. He allowed two runs and moved to 3-0 on the year with the win and is 17-10 in his career … The Commodores handed Kentucky its first home loss of the season on Sunday (11-1) … Steven Liddle’s 15-game hitting streak ended in Friday’s loss to the Wildcats. He rebounded on Sunday by hitting his first SEC homer in the 4-2 win … Drew Fann made his first collegiate start at catcher against Belmont, then started in all three games over the weekend.

Mike Minor Named To National Award Watch Lists

Junior southpaw Mike Minor has garnered several mentions for national awards and preseason All-American teams.

He was named to the Golden Spikes Award and Brooks Wallace Award Watch Lists, both honors given to the top player in college baseball.

Baseball America and Collegiate Baseball tabbed him a second-team preseason All-American while the National Collegiate Baseball Writers Association had him on its third team.

Last season Minor tied for the team lead in wins with seven, finishing with a 7-3 record with two complete games. As a freshman in 2007, he went 9-1 and sports a 16-4 career mark into the 2009 season.

Minor served as the ace of the USA Baseball National team squad that went 24-0 over the summer and captured the FISU World University Championships in the Czech Republic in July. He went 3-0 with a 0.75 ERA during the tour with 37 strikeouts and 13 walks in a team high 36 innings.

The Chapel Hill, Tenn., native two biggest performances came against the Cuban National team in a span of a week last July. The Cuban contingent was the same team, minus one player, that captured the 2004 Olympic gold medal and was the runner-up at the 2006 World Baseball Classic.

Minor threw 6.1 innings of four-hit shutout baseball in a 1-0 win on July 6 at the Haarlem Baseball Week In Harleem, Netherlands. He followed that up in his next start by allowing just an unearned run on four hits over six innings in the gold medal clinching game of the tourney on July 13.

Minor completed his two-year National team run with an 8-2 record and a 1.17 ERA with 74 strikeouts and just 17 walks in 69 innings of action.

Vanderbilt Newcomers Among Nation’s Best

For the second time in four seasons, Vanderbilt’s baseball recruiting class has been ranked in the Top 3 in the country.

Baseball America ranked the class second in the country while Collegiate Baseball had the class ranked at No. 3. Both publications listed Arizona State as having the No. 1 class, while Collegiate Baseball had Oregon at No. 2 with a 35 member class in its first season back since being eliminated as a varsity sport after the 1980-81 season.

13 members of the class reported to school in August with three other players choosing the professional ranks. Of the 13 that are in school, eight were drafted and decided to play collegiately.

The coaching staff put together the class in anticipation of a mass exodus following the 2008 season. The Commodores lost seven offensive players who had started over the last three years, including first round draft picks Pedro Alvarez and Ryan Flaherty as well as the school’s all-time hits leader Dominic de la Osa.

Of Perfect Game’s Top 250 prospects for college, high school and Puerto Rico, 32 players from high school did not sign professional contracts and are attending Division I schools or junior colleges. Of the 32, Vanderbilt had five players, the most of any school in the country.

Facility Upgrades Are Complete

Two seasons ago temporary bleachers were put out in right field due to Vanderbilt’s first ever NCAA regional at Hawkins Field. The success of that regional set in motion plans to add permanent bleachers from right to the left-field “Green Monster”. Those bleachers were added in the offseason along with 200 additional chairback seats down the first base line, bringing the seating capacity to 3,700. Season tickets are still available for both the chairbacks and bleacher seats. Fans can purchase them via or via the ticket office at (615) 322-GOLD.

Also added in the Baseball Fieldhouse is a new Hall of Honor showcasing the top players and teams in Vanderbilt history. Video highlights of recent seasons are also available via a touchscreen monitor in the facility.



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