Baseball: Vanderbilt visits Georgia

The Vanderbilt Commodores face their biggest test of the season when they visit the No. 13 Georgia Bulldogs in Athens this weekend. Clinging for dear life to the SEC's eighth conference tournament spot, the guys in Black and Gold can ill afford a repeat of last week's total disaster in Columbia.

Vanderbilt (29-20, 10-13 SEC)
at No. 13 Georgia (33-15, 14-10 SEC)
 
Friday, May 8 • 6 p.m. CT
Saturday, May 9 • Noon CT
Sunday, May 10 • 1 p.m. CT


Radio: 560 AM WNSR.

TV: CSS will televise Saturday's contest.

Venue: Foley Field (3,291); Athens, Ga.

Series History vs. Georgia
 
Georgia leads 93-71 all-time in a series that dates back to 1950. UGA claimed the SEC regular season championship by taking two of three in Nashville last season. Prior to that the Commodores had won the last two series (2006, 2007).
 
The Coaches
 
VU's Tim Corbin is 268-150 in his seventh season in Nashville. He is 374-288 in 13 seasons overall. He is 12-10 against the Bulldogs.  Georgia's Dave Perno is 284-199-1 in his eighth season in Athens. He is 13-12 all-time against Vanderbilt.
 
Tentative Pitching Matchups 

FRIDAY
VU Fr. RHP Sonny Gray (3-1, 5.34 ERA) UGA Sr. RHP Trevor Holder (7-2, 4.34 ERA)

SATURDAY
VU Jr. LHP Mike Minor (4-4, 3.93 ERA) UGA Jr. LHP Alex McRee (4-1, 3.55 ERA)

SUNDAY
VU Jr. RHP Drew Hayes (4-3, 6.17 ERA) UGA So. RHP Justin Grimm (2-3, 4.42 ERA)


Scouting Georgia
 
Georgia is 33-15 overall and 14-10 in Southeastern Conference play after getting swept by Florida last weekend in Athens. The series was a battle of the top two teams in the Eastern Division and the Bulldogs dropped from first to sixth in the overall standings after the weekend. UGA is a veteran club with six offensive starters and eight pitchers back from last season's team that won the SEC regular season crown and was the NCAA runner-up to Fresno State.

Junior first baseman Rich Poythress (.406, 21 HR, 75 RBI) is a front-runner for SEC Player of the Year honors as is looking to become the first player since Rafael Palmeiro (.415, 29 HR, 94 RBI) in 1984 to win the league triple crown. He is first in batting average and RBI and is second to Alabama's Kent Matthes (23 HR) in home runs. The Bulldogs have four players with 10 or more homers on the team and are hitting at a .308 clip with 389 runs scored in 48 games (8.1 per game).

Senior right-hander Trevor Holder (7-2, 4.34 ERA) will get the start Friday night with junior left-hander Alex McCree (4-1, 3.55 ERA) scheduled to go on Saturday. Sophomore right-hander Justin Grimm (2-3, 4.42 ERA) is slated to start in the Sunday's series finale. Junior right-hander Dean Weaver is the team's relief ace with nine saves to go with a 1-2 record and 2.32 ERA. He has 24 strikeouts and seven walks in 31.0 innings and has been particularly effective in league action with seven saves and a 1.10 ERA with 13 strikeouts and five walks in 16.1 innings. The team has a 4.55 team ERA with 395 strikeouts and 190 walks in 429.0 innings of work.
 

Scouting Vanderbilt

Vanderbilt used a four-run fifth inning in game one and a complete game shutout in game two to sweep a doubleheader over Belmont, 8-6 and 3-0, Tuesday night at Hawkins Field. Vanderbilt went 2-3 on the week losing a weekend series to South Carolina in Columbia … It was the first series loss to the Gamecocks since the 2004 season and first time SC has swept them since 2003. The last four Commodore series this season have ended up in sweeps. VU swept Arkansas (2 games; April 10-11), got swept by Alabama (April 17-18), swept Mississippi State (April 24-26) and got swept at South Carolina (May 1-3) … The Commodores hit .276 in the SC series with four homers, four doubles and 13 runs scored … Steven Liddle went 8-for-13 (.615) with two homers, two RBI and four runs scored … Aaron Westlake was 5-for-10 with a homer, RBI and two runs scored … Jonathan White went 5-for-12 (.417) with a homer, two RBI and two runs scored … The pitching staff sported a 12.00 ERA with 17 strikeouts and 10 walks in 24.0 innings. The Gamecocks hit .385 with 10 homers and 33 runs in the three games … Nick Christiani gave up an unearned run on one hit in 1.1 innings of relief on Friday … Mark Lamm pitched a scoreless inning on Saturday in his first action since March 18 against Belmont … Jack Armstrong also saw his first action since that Belmont contest, with a scoreless inning on Friday … Russell Brewer closed out the series with an inning of scoreless relief on Sunday. He has now thrown nine consecutive scoreless innings of relief in his last seven appearances … Mike Minor had a string of four consecutive double-digit strikeout starts end when he struck out just one Gamecock on Friday … VU added a doubleheader against Belmont on Tuesday and will then close out the road portion of the regular season at Georgia over the weekend.


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