Vanderbilt Baseball Preview: Xavier

The No. 2 ranked Vanderbilt Commodores host Xavier for a 3-game series this weekend at Hawkins Field. Here's your VandyMania.com preview of the Musketeers.

Xavier, of the Big East Conference, is just 3-8 on the season.  The Musketeers opened with a 4-game series at Arizona State.  While being swept in all four games against the Sun Devils the Musketeers were at least competitive.  Most recently Xavier fell 4-1 to Wright State on Tuesday night. The Musketeers are coached by 11th-year head coach Scott Googins who led Xavier to an NCAA bid in 2014. 

Right fielder Blaine Griffiths leads the Musketeers in batting. He had two hits in the recent loss to Wright State.  Second baseman David Morton is the only other Xavier player averaging over .300.  Shortstop Andre Jernigan leads the team in hits. First baseman Joe Gellenbeck has a team-best three home runs.  Infielder Will LaRue is the team's biggest threat to steal with 8 stolen bases in 9 attempts.

Lefty Zac Lowther is set to pitch on Friday for the Musketeers.  He has 17 strikeouts in 19 innings on the mound.  Another lefty, Greg Jacknewitz, is slated to start on Saturday.  Sunday's starter has not yet been announced. All-BIG EAST lefty Trent Astle or righty Damian Richard could get the nod.

In the bullpen, righty Garrett Schilling leads the team in saves with two.

Looking at the Vandy-Xavier stat comparison, the Commodores have the edge in just about every batting and pitching category.  Keep in mind it's still early in the season and no team should be overlooked. The Musketeers have also played all 11 games on the road.   

All three games this weekend will be televised on the SEC Network Plus.  You can also listen online at VUCommodores.com or on your radio at WNSR 95.9 FM or 560 AM.  Friday's game starts at 4 pm while Saturday's contest gets going at 2 pm. The first pitch on Sunday should be thrown at about 1 pm.

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