Vanderbilt (52-10) vs. North Carolina (50-14) Date: Saturday, June 18, 2011 Time: 1 p.m. CT Location: Omaha, Neb. Ballpark: TD Ameritrade Park (24,500) Radio: 560 AM (Joe Fisher) & SiriusXM 91 TV: ESPN Webcast: ESPN3.com Series: First meeting
VANDERBILT RE-VU Vanderbilt advanced to the school's first-ever College World Series with a 9-3 win over Oregon State. Aaron Westlake's three home run, six RBI performance will go down as one of the greatest games in VU history. The Commodores hammered Oregon State 11-1 in the opening game of the Super Regional. Mike Yastrzemski and Jason Esposito each hit home runs in the win. Vanderbilt captured the team's second straight Regional Championship with a 6-1 win over Belmont Sunday night. The Commodores advanced to the title game with a 10-2 win over Troy. Vanderbilt opened the NCAA Tournament with a 10-0 win over Belmont. Florida shut out the Commodores 5-0 to win the Southeastern Conference Tournament title. Vandy moved into the SEC Tournament Championship game with a 3-2 win over Arkansas. Vanderbilt topped South Carolina 7-2 Thursday to improve to 2-0 in the SEC Tournament. The Dores opened the SEC Tournament with a 10-0 win over Georgia. Vanderbilt wrapped up the regular season 44-9 and 22-8 in the SEC to win a share of the SEC regular season championship.
ON THE BUMP Saturday, June 18 RHP Sonny Gray (12-3, 1.97) vs. RHP Patrick Johnson (13-1, 2.27)
TOURNAMENT TIME Vanderbilt is in the College World Series for the first time in school history in the team's 10th trip to the postseason and seventh time under Head Coach Tim Corbin, including six straight seasons. The Commodores are 25-19 all-time in the NCAA Tournament going 5-3 last year losing at Florida State in three games of a Super Regional. Under Head Coach Tim Corbin the Commodores are 22-13 in the NCAA Tournament. Prior to Corbin's tenure Vanderbilt was 3-6 and had made just three trips to the NCAA Tournament in school history.
TALENTED YOUNGSTERS Four freshmen Commodores garnered Freshman All-American honors to set a school record. Louisville Slugger named Tony Kemp and Conrad Gregor Freshmen All-American this week. The duo has been an important part of the Commodores' success this season, both earning All-SEC accolades as well. T.J. Pecoraro and Kevin Ziomek picked up All-American honors from the National Collegiate Baseball Writers Association last week. The quartet joins current teammates Sonny Gray, Riley Reynolds and Aaron Westlake, who all earned the honor in 2009, as freshmen All-American.
FIRST TIME AGAINST THE HEELS The Commodores play North Carolina for the first time in the school's history. Vanderbilt is familiar with the other two teams on this side of the bracket having played Florida four times this year and playing fall ball at Texas last October.
WES-TY! WES-TY! Aaron Westlake's three home runs marked one of the most memorable games in VU history Saturday in the Commodores' 9-3 Super Regional clinching victory over Oregon State. He is the first Vandy player to hit three homers in a game since Jeff Martin did it in 1991 against Valparaiso. Westlake hit his third home run of the night in his final at-bat with the crowd chanting Wes-ty! Wes-ty!
SEC HONORS The SEC honored several Commodores with All-SEC accolades. Junior Grayson Garvin was named the league's Pitcher of the Year after going 9-0 with a 1.83 ERA in SEC regular season play. The lefty led the league with 11 wins on the year. Tony Kemp was tabbed the Freshman of the Year after hitting .342 for the year and .402 in SEC games during his first collegiate campaign. Aaron Westlake joins Garvin and Kemp on the All-SEC first team after leading the Commodores with 13 home runs and a .360 batting average. Juniors Sonny Gray and Jason Esposito along with freshman Conrad Gregor were placed on the All-SEC second team. Kevin Ziomek along with Kemp and Gregor represent VU on the All-SEC Freshman team. Gray and Esposito were also tabbed on the All-Defensive team.
GRAY MOVING UP Junior Sonny Gray is on the move up the career all-time lists. The right-hander has moved into fifth place all-time with 304 career strikeouts. David Price (2005-07) holds the school record with 441 strikeouts. Gray is now second all-time with 27 wins. Jeff Peeples (1970-73) holds the school record with 29 wins.
ESPOSITO RUNS INTO TOP 10 Jason Esposito moved into the Top 10 all-time for stolen bases in a career at Vanderbilt when he stole a base on Opening Day at San Diego. The junior third baseman has added to his total and now is in seventh place with 66 stolen bases. Next up on the list is Dominic de la Osa (2005-08), who had 68 steals in his career. Charles DeFrance (1980-82) holds the school record with 96 stolen bases. Esposito is third all-time with 58 doubles in his career.