No. 17 Vanderbilt (23-4, 4-2 SEC) at No. 8 Florida (18-5, 4-2 SEC)
Friday, April 2 5:30 p.m. CT
Saturday, April 3 3 p.m. CT
Sunday, April 4 Noon CT
McKethan Stadium (5,500)
Series History vs. Florida
Florida leads all-time 117-61-1 in a series that dates back to 1927. The Commodores have won three of the last four series dating back to 2006. The lone series win for the Gators in that span was in 2008 when they swept the Commodores in the final series of the regular season in Gainesville.
Last Two Years
April 5, 2009: Vanderbilt 16, Florida 9 - Nashville
April 4, 2009: Vanderbilt 4, Florida 3 - Nashville
April 3, 2009: Florida 8, Vanderbilt 4 - Nashville
May 21, 2008: Vanderbilt 7, Florida 3 - Hoover, Ala.
May 17, 2008: Florida 13, Vanderbilt 12 (11) - Gainesville
May 16, 2008: Florida 5, Vanderbilt 4 - Gainesville
May 15, 2008: Florida 8, Vanderbilt 6 - Gainesville
Vanderbilt is ranked No. 17 in the USA Today/ESPN coaches' poll, No. 18 by the National Collegiate Baseball Writers Association, No. 20 in Baseball America and No. 23 in Collegiate Baseball and by Rivals.com. Florida is ranked No. 8 in Baseball America, No. 9 by the NCBWA and Rivals.com, No. 11 in the USA Today/ESPN coaches' poll and No. 12 by Collegiate Baseball.
VU's Tim Corbin is 299-161 in his eighth season in Nashville. He is 405-299 in 14 seasons overall. Corbin is 13-11 against Florida. UF's Kevin O'Sullivan is 94-52 in his third season as head coach of the Gators. He is 4-3 against Vanderbilt.
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. Joe Fisher will call this weekend's action.
The Saturday and Sunday contests will be broadcast on SUN Sports. Mick Hubert (play-by-play) and Nick Belmonte (analysis) will call the action. Check local listings for broadcast info in your area.
Fans can also sign up for text updates via www.twitter.com/vandybaseball and follow livestats for every game through www.vucommodores.com.
What's On Tap
Vanderbilt hits the road for the second time in three weekends in Southeastern Conference play, taking on No. 8 Florida in Gainesville. The Commodores and Gators will open the three-game set on Friday at 5:30 p.m. CT and will continue on Saturday at 3 p.m. ET and Sunday at Noon CT. The latter two games will be televised on SUN Sports. Check your TV listings for availability in your area.
Florida is 18-6 on the season and 4-2 in the SEC after dropping two of three against Ole Miss in Oxford last weekend. The Gators fell to in-state rival Florida State, 7-2, on Tuesday in Jacksonville.
UF has been led offensively freshman infielder Austin Maddox who is hitting .382 with seven homers, nine doubles and 33 RBI. Sophomore first baseman Preston Tucker, the SEC Co-Freshman of the Year in 2009, is second on the team with a .359 batting average with four homers, seven doubles and 20 RBI. As a team the Gators hitting at a .306 clip with 28 homers, 41 doubles and 171 run scored in 24 games (7.1 per game).
Florida's rotation for the weekend will be sophomore left-hander Alex Panteliodis (5-1, 2.03 ERA) on Friday, freshman southpaw Brian Johnson (2-1, 3.42 ERA) on Saturday and freshman right-hander Hudson Randall (2-2, 5.00 ERA) on Sunday. The Gators have a 3.97 team ERA with 190 strikeouts and 54 walks in 213.0 innings pitched.
Defensively UF has made 20 errors on the year and has a .978 fielding percentage, tied with Ole Miss for best in the SEC.
Gray Named SEC Pitcher of the Week
Sophomore pitcher Sonny Gray was named Southeastern Conference Pitcher of the Week the league announced on Monday.
Gray handcuffed No. 21 Kentucky for seven innings Friday night, holding the Wildcats to just four hits while striking out six and walking three in the Commodores 7-0 win. He didn't allow a runner to third base, with the four hits allowed singles, including one of the infield varieties.
It is the second combined shutout Gray has thrown this season. He is 4-2 overall with a 2.25 ERA with 39 strikeouts and 16 walks in 40.0 innings. In his two SEC starts the Smyrna native is 1-1 with a 0.71 ERA with 10 strikeouts in 12.2 innings. Opponents are hitting just .208 against him this season.
This marks the second time Gray has won the weekly award this season after receiving the nod after the right-hander threw 8.0 innings of three-hit shutout baseball in the 9-0 win over Niagara on Feb. 19. He did not allow a runner to second base (only one in game) until the eighth inning and struck out eight batters to just one walk.
In addition Gray was recently named to the College Baseball Foundation initial Pitcher of the Year Watch List for 2010. This is the second award watch list that the Smyrna, Tenn., native has been named to including the Golden Spikes Award.
Corbin Coaching Milestones
Head coach Tim Corbin notched his 400th career victory on March 24 over Wright State. His next win will be his 300th at Vanderbilt as he enters the weekend with 299 victories in his time in Nashville. Corbin is currently seven wins behind Larry Schmittou (306), who is second on the school's all-time win list. The Commodores all-time wins leader is Roy Mewbourne who went 655-608-9 from 1979-2002.
Corbin also had 106 victories in five seasons at Presbyterian.
Third baseman Jason Esposito is having a great sophomore season at the plate, already surpassing his home run total of a year ago. As a freshman he hit .287 with four homers, 13 doubles and 42 RBI while starting in all 64 games played. This season Esposito is hitting .368 with five homers, 10 doubles and 32 RBI. He is also the team leader with 13 stolen bases in 15 attempts.
Hit by Pitch Harris
Senior shortstop Brian Harris currently leads the nation in hit by pitches with 20 on the year. The Nashville native has been an on-base machine with 26 walks as well and has a .595 on base percentage.
He is currently second on the team in hitting at a .372 clip with three homers, including a three-run homer against Wofford on Wednesday, and 19 RBI.
A first-team All-SEC pick and All-SEC Defensive Team selection a year ago, he has also continued to play a steady short with just five errors on the year, including just one in six SEC contests thus far.
Freshmen Anthony Gomez and Connor Harrell are making the most of their opportunities thus far this season and have earned more playing time for their performances on the field in the process.
Gomez, a middle infielder from New Jersey, is hitting .536 in 22 games, including 13 starts. He has the team's longest hitting streak this year at 14 games and in five of those games he extended the skein in just one at bat. He leads the team with a .611 batting average (11-for-18) in SEC play.
Harrell, an outfielder from Texas, is hitting .354 in 24 games, including 22 starts. He has a homer, eight doubles and 20 RBI and has played a steady outfield. He has consistently hit in SEC games as well with a .348 average and five RBI.
Giobbi named to Johnny Bench Award Watch List
Senior catcher Andrew Giobbi is on 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 15 of 32 runners attempting to steal. He has also caught a pitching staff that has a stellar 3.02 team ERA, best in the SEC. Offensively he has come on strong, leading the team with a .424 (14-for-33) batting average in the eight-game win streak. He has four doubles, a homer 12 RBI and nine runs scored in that span. 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.
Vanderbilt enters the Florida series riding an eight-game win streak and has the most wins in the SEC with 23 ... VU's start is the second best in school history, just one game behind the 2007 squad which sported a 24-3 record at the same point, including a 3-3 record in SEC action ... VU completed its most recent home stand with a 7-0 record and are 19-1 at home this year ... The Commodores swept Kentucky over the weekend, winning the series for the first time since the 2007 season. The teams played a doubleheader on Saturday to avoid forecasted inclement weather on Sunday ... The Commodore bullpen came up big in the five games, notching two wins while sporting a 2.29 ERA with 21 strikeouts and eight walks in 19.2 innings. Overall the team has a 2.91 ERA, tops in the SEC, with 211 strikeouts and 82 walks in 226.0 innings ... Sonny Gray and Corey Williams combined on a five-hit shutout of then No. 21 Kentucky in Friday night's win. Gray held UK to four hits in seven innings with six strikeouts and three walks. Williams came on in the eighth and pitched two innings of one-hit ball with two strikeouts and a walk. He made three relief appearances on the week and allowed just two hits with six strikeouts and three walks in six innings ... Chase Reid made two appearances and picked up wins in both and now is tied with Gray for the team lead in wins with four. He started against Lipscomb (3/23) and went six innings, allowing one run on five hits with three strikeouts. Reid then pitched three innings of one-hit relief with three strikeouts against Kentucky (3/27) in the 2-1 win in game one of the doubleheader. On the week he struck out six in eight innings, allowing just a run on six hits ...Taylor Hill allowed one run, unearned, in 4.1 innings against UK in the first game of the doubleheader Saturday. Will Clinard threw three innings of two hit relief in two outings, while Russell Brewer did not allow a run of his own in three appearances, hurling 2.2 innings of two hit work with two strikeouts and two walks ... Offensively VU hit .347 with two homers, 12 doubles and 46 runs scored in five games (9 per game) ... Andrew Giobbi led the team with a .455 batting average (10-for-22), including a 4-for-5 night against UK in the series finale ... Brian Harris was 6-for-16 (.375) with a double, homer, four RBI and eight runs scored. He walked three times, while getting hit six more times for a .600 on base percentage ... Bryan Johns was also 6-for-16 (.375) with a double, three RBI and seven runs scored ... Grayson Garvin made his 2010 debut against Wofford on Tuesday and struck out the side in the ninth inning ... Navery Moore made his first collegiate start against Wofford on Wednesday and picked up the win.