Over the 3-game series with Niagara, Vanderbilt saw 10 pitchers take the mound and many freshmen had their first college plate appearances. Both pitchers and hitters appear ready for the 2010 season. Vanderbilt's first two starting pitchers threw over 14 innings of scoreless baseball. Coach Corbin has to be thrilled with that stat. Jack Armstrong, the ‘Dore's No. 3 starter, struggled at the beginning of his first start but did seem to settle down as the game progressed and did pick up his first collegiate win. The bullpen also was stellar, giving up only two runs in over eight innings of relief. It was nice to see that a versatile player like Joe Loftus can also throw effectively from the mound. Vanderbilt's pitching talent may just be better than anyone now appreciates.
The bats were also confident and strong, recording 46 hits over three games. It was great to see Jason Esposito break out Sunday with a monster day at the plate. Esposito almost hit for the cycle on Sunday, hitting a homerun, single, and two doubles. Aaron Westlake continues to be red hot and should have another solid season at the plate. The freshman trio of Andrew Harris (.667), Regan Flaherty (.600), and Connor Harrell (.571), all showed the ability to swing the sticks effectively and will be relied on heavily over the course of this long college baseball season.
The road to Omaha does get tougher this week though as Vanderbilt will face a solid Austin Peay team on Tuesday (4 PM) and then hit the road on Thursday for a 3-game west coast series with UCLA, USC, and Oklahoma State. Chase Reid will get the start on Tuesday. Austin Peay (2-1) will counter with David Vicini who was roughed up in his first appearance over the weekend, allowing 6 of the 7 batters he faced to reach base. A lot more will be learned about this team over the next seven days.
This week's games (all times central):
Tues. 2/23 vs. Austin Peay 4 p.m.
Fri. 2/26 at UCLA 8 p.m.
Los Angeles, Calif.
Sat. 2/27 at USC 8:30 p.m.
Los Angeles, Calif.
Sun. 2/28 vs. Oklahoma State Noon
Los Angeles, Calif. (Dodger Stadium)