Vandy baseball travels to Missouri

Vanderbilt may be ranked higher than Missouri and favored to win the road series this weekend but the Tigers have accomplished one thing as a program that Vandy would like to emulate. On Saturday the Missouri nation will honor the 1954 College World Series champion, the Missouri Tigers. That's got to give this Commodore team motivation to strive for perfection.

No. 25 Vanderbilt vs. Missouri

Friday (6 p.m.)
RHP Tyler Beede (6-5, 3.46 ERA) vs. RHP Brett Graves (3-3, 2.89 ERA)

Saturday (2 p.m.)
RHP Carson Fulmer (2-1, 1.35 ERA) vs. Jr. RHP John Miles (2-5, 5.22 ERA)

Sunday (1 p.m.)
RHP Tyler Ferguson (6-3, 2.90 ERA) vs. TBA


Last week it was "Happy Days are here again" as No. 25 Vanderbilt (33-12, SEC 11-10), swept a series from Georgia. Tyler Beede pitched well on Friday and on Saturday the Commodores held on to win a continuation game. Saturday afternoon it was Carson Fulmer's turn and he was absolutely dominant in a lopsided victory. On Sunday the 'Dores completed the sweep with a solid 6-1 victory. This week the Commodores have a chance to build on their new winning SEC record when they travel to Missouri.

Vanderbilt's team batting average is .280 (opponents .196) with a 2.45 ERA (opponents 4.61 versus Vandy).

Dansby Swanson (.355, 21 RBI) leads Vanderbilt in hits with 61 and six hits in the series with Georgia. Vince Conde (.313, 31 RBI) had a pair of hits on both Friday and Sunday against the Bulldogs. Conde leads the 'Dores in walks with 27. Bryan Reynolds (.327, 33 RBI) leads the 'Dores in RBIs and double (19). Catcher Jason Delay (.303, 10 RBI) doubled for an RBI during Friday's win over the Bulldogs. Xavier Turner (.310, 26 RBI) had a pair of hits (one double), an RBI and scored one of Vandy's two runs against Memphis. Rhett Wiseman (.241, 20 RBI), John Norwood (.254, 17 RBI) and Zander Wiel (.265, 22 RBI) round out the key Vandy batters.

Vanderbilt continues to lead the SEC in combined staff strikeouts with 414. The Commodore staff's 2.45 earned run average is third best in the league behind South Carolina (2.05) and Arkansas (2.28). Junior RHP Tyler Beede had struggled for several weeks but may have returned to the form that got him drafted in the first round by the Toronto Blue Jays in 2011. Last week in five innings versus Georgia Beede had seven strikeouts. Beede's 62 strikeouts lead the Commodores.

Righty Carson Fulmer was the Vandy closer for much of the season until Jared Miller began to falter as the Saturday starter. Fulmer is 2-0 in his first two start. He has 51 strikeouts while allowing just six earned runs.

Sophomore RHP Tyler Ferguson was drafted in the 40th round by the San Francisco Giants in 2012. He struck out five in five innings of work against the Bulldogs on Sundays. Ferguson continues to do well at limiting walks. He's only allowed 16 of those in 59 innings pitched which is the lowest number of Vandy's weekend starters.

With Fulmer's transfer to a starting role Brian Miller (1-0, 0.76 ERA) has re-emerged as the Commodore closer. Miller, who has struck out 23 batters in 23 2/3 innings, can now significantly add to his Commodore career record of 24 saves. Adam Ravenelle (2-0, 1.11 ERA), Hayden Stone (1-0, 0.56 ERA) and Jared Miller (6-1, 3.71 ERA) are the 'Dores most active players out of the bullpen.


Unranked Missouri (20-24, SEC 6-15) is coming off a winless road series at Florida. The Tiger's only series wins this season have been road 2-1 series victories over Kentucky and Auburn. In addition to the sweep at Florida, the Tigers have also suffered sweeps at the hands of Mississippi State and Ole Miss. Most recently, the Tigers defeated SEMO on Tuesday night, 6-5.

Missouri as a team bats .252 while opposing teams have a .276 average versus the Tigers. Mizzou's pitchers have an overall 3.93 ERA while opponents have a 3.52 ERA versus the Tigers.

Missouri is last in the conference in batting average, slugging percentage and on-base percentage. Senior catcher Dylan Kelly (.326, 24 RBI) is the top Tiger batter leading the team in RBIs (24) and slugging percentage (.431). Fellow senior Eric Anderson (.303, 19 RBI) is the only other Mizzou batter currently batting .300 or above. He leads the Tigers in home runs with four and walks (23). Kendall Keeton (.272, 16 RBI), Shane Segovia (.243, 14 RBI) and Ryan Howard (.241, 19 RBI) are some of the Tigers other key hitters.

Pitching wise, Missouri is twelfth in the SEC in team ERA and last on opponent batting average (.276).

Junior righty Brett Graves (3-3, 2.89 ERA) is by far the best pitcher on the Tiger staff. Graves was drafted in the 26th round by the St. Louis Cardinals in the 2011 MLB draft. So far this season Graves has 55 strikeouts against only 12 walks and 24 earned runs.

Junior right-hander John Miles (2-5, 5.22 ERA) is scheduled to throw on Sunday versus the 'Dores. Miles, whose fastball reaches the mid to high 80s, has 39 strikeouts this season while allowing 35 earned runs and 71 hits. Miles was the Sunday pitcher last week versus Florida but has apparently been promoted to Saturday.

Sunday's pitcher is TBA. In last Saturday's 5-0 loss against Florida Eric Anderson (2-3, 3.30 ERA) got the start so he could be a candidate to pitch in the series final game. Anderson has struck out a respectable 46 against only 7 walks.

Right handed closer Keaton Steele (0-6, 2.79 ERA) has nine saves for the Tigers. He has 38 strikeouts while allowing only 13 walks and 13 earned runs. Breckin Williams (2.64 ERA), Brett Graves (2.89 ERA) and Austin Tribby (5.03 ERA) are some of the other Mizzou relief pitchers who have seen significant amounts of mound time.


FLA	 15-6	--	30-15
USC	 12-9	3	34-11
VAN	 11-10	4	33-12
KEN	 9-12	6	27-17
TEN	 8-13	7	26-16
GEO	 7-13	7.5 	21-22
MIZ	 6-15	9       20-24


OLM	 13-8	--	33-13
ALA	 13-8	--	30-15
LSU	 12-8   0.5	34-11
MSU	 11-10	2	28-18
ARK	 10-11	3	29-18
TAM	 10-11	3	28-18
AUB  	  9-12	4	25-20


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

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