Baseball: Vandy faces first SEC road test

The No. 4 ranked Vanderbilt Commodore baseball team faces its first conference road trip at Mississippi State this weekend. The No. 17 Bulldogs, who advanced to the 2013 College Baseball World Series last season, should provide Vandy with a formidable test. Look inside for a scouting report on both squads.

No. 4 Vanderbilt at No. 17 Mississippi State

Friday (6:30 p.m.)
RHP Tyler Beede (4-1, 0.84 ERA) vs. RHP Preston Brown (2-0, 0.75 ERA)

Saturday (7:30 p.m.)
LHP Jared Miller (5-0, 0.57 ERA) vs. LHP Ross Mitchell (3-1, 1.50 ERA)

Sunday (1:30 p.m.)
RHP Tyler Ferguson (3-0, 1.63 ERA) vs. RHP Trevor Fitts (2-0, 3.55 ERA)


ABOUT VANDERBILT

Vanderbilt (19-2, 2-1 SEC) is ranked fourth nationally by by Perfect Game. The Commodores have five series wins so far this season including series against Stanford, LSU and Long Beach State.

Vanderbilt as a team is batting .288 compared to its opponent's BA of .169. The Commodores pitching staff has a 1.50 ERA while Vandy's opponents have a 5.14 ERA versus the Commodores.

Junior RHP Tyler Beede is the Vandy Friday night pitcher. He was a first round draft choice by the Toronto Blue Jays in 2011 and has a 95 mile per hour fastball. So far in five starts Beede has struck out 40 while allowing three earned runs on 14 hits while walking six. He struck out seven last week against LSU but took a tough luck loss.

Lefty Jared Miller has developed into a solid starting pitcher. Miller, who has a fastball that reaches around 90 miles per hour, has struck out 24 batters in 31 1/3 innings of pitching. He's allowed just two earned runs, 15 hits and seven walks. Miller allowed one run on two hits in 6 2/3 innings in game 1 versus LSU on Saturday.

Sophomore RHP Tyler Ferguson is the youngster of Vandy three weekend starters. He was drafted in the 40th round by the San Francisco Giants in 2012. Ferguson's fastball reaches into the low 90s. So far this season Ferguson is 3-0 with 14 hits and five earned runs allowed in 27 2/3 innings pitched. He has 25 strikeouts and eight walks in holding opponents to a .149 batting average. Ferguson played well early against LSU last week but lost control in the fourth inning and was pulled in favor of Hayden Stone.

Brian Miller (0-0, 0.00 ERA, 1 S) returns as Vanderbilt's closer. He has struck out 11 batters in 10 1/3 innings of work with one walk and five hits allowed. Miller had a rough late inning last week against LSU. After a throwing error advanced Tiger runners with two outs, Miller gave up a hit which gave the Tigers the win. Freshman righty Hayden Stone (1-0, 0.51 ERA, 30 SO) pitched 5 1/3 innings versus LSU striking out 10. He may eventually be the Sunday starter. Carson Fulmer (1.12 ERA) in 16 innings with 23 Ks, Adam Ravenelle (1-0, 1.80 ERA) and John Kilichowsk (1.74 ERA) in 10 1/3 innings with 10 Ks could also see relief action.

ABOUT MISSISSIPPI STATE

Mississippi State (15-8, 2-1 SEC) is ranked 17th nationally by Perfect Game. The Bulldogs, like the Commodores, opened their SEC season in a winning manner with 2-1 series win over Georgia.

Mississippi State as a team bats .269 while opposing teams have a .249 average versus the Bulldogs. MSU's pitchers have an overall 2.96 ERA while Bulldog opponents have a 4.76 ERA versus MSU.

Short stop Seth Heck (.280, 6 RBI) is second on the States' team in hits with 23. Third baseman Alex Detz (.224, 15 RBI) has 19 hits and 15 walks. First baseman Wes Rea (.288, 21 RBI) leads the Bulldogs in homers with three. He also has four doubles and leads the Bulldogs in walks with 18. Second baseman Brett Pirtle (.300, 12 RBI) bats fourth in the MSU lineup and is top dog when it comes to hits with 27. Designated hitter Daniel Garner (.303, 4 RBI) has 10 hits and a pair of doubles. Outfielder C.T. Bradford (.323, 12 RBI) leads the team in slugging percentage (.477). Other key hitters for the Bulldogs include Demarcus Henderson (.319) and Jake Vickerson (.282). The latter pair have 15 combined stolen bases on the season.

Mid-week star righty Preston Brown (2-0, 0.75 ERA), who has a 90 mph fast ball, has been moved to the Friday starting position. He replaces Ben Bracewell who took a loss to Georgia last Friday. In his most recent start Brown struck out six batters in eight innings of work against Southern Illinois. The sophomore walked just one and scattered four hits in that game. Brown has MSU's best ERA and boasts 22 strikeouts while allowing 11 walks and 17 hits but has allowed just two earned runs.

Junior left-hander Ross Mitchell (3-1, 1.50 ERA) was recently selected SEC Pitcher of the Week for his stellar performance against Georgia last Saturday. Mitchell held UGA to just four hits and one run in a road game. So far this season Mitchell has 22 strikeouts while allowing 25 hits and 11 walks.

Junior righty Trevor Fitts (2-0, 3.55 ERA) struck out six and allowed just four hits and one walk in a 4-1 win over Georgia last Saturday (game 2 DH). Fitz has struck out 31 while allowing 28 hits and five walks in 25 1/3 inning pitched.

In the Bulldog bullpen is Jacob Lindgren (2-0, 1.32 ERA. 2 S) has 26 strikeouts in just 13 2/3 innings pitched. He recorded the victory in Saturday game which Fitts started after pitching three innings and striking out four while walking one and allowing no earned runs. Jonathan Holder (1-1, 3.00 ERA, 2 S) , Myles Gentry (0-0, 2.25 ERA, 2 S), Vance Tatum (9.00 ERA), Austin Sexton (4.85 ERA) are other key Bulldog relievers.
SEC STANDINGS

EAST	CONF	GB	ALL

USC	 2-1	-	18-1
TEN	 2-1	- 	18-2
VAN	 2-1	-	19-3
FLA	 2-1	- 	14-7
KEN	 1-2	1	15-6
GEO	 1-2	1 	14-8
MIZ	 1-2	1 	11-9
 
WEST	CONF	GB	ALL

ALA	 2-1	-	14-6
AUB 	 2-1	-	15-7
MSU  	 2-1	-	15-8
LSU	 1-2	1	18-4
OLM	 1-2	1	18-4	
TAM	 1-2	1	15-7
ARK	 1-2	1	11-7
SEC THIS WEEK

Vanderbilt at Mississippi State
Alabama at Arkansas
Auburn at Tennessee
South Carolina at Kentucky
Florida at Texas A&M
Georgia at LSU
Missouri at Ole Miss

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