April 01, 2007

Vandy wins two out of three

While South Carolina did win today's game 8-2 receiving great performances from DH Phil Disher and starter Blake Cooper. Nobody here will forget who the victor of this seies was. You can't take anything away from how well Carolina played today, and on Friday even in a loss, but the Commodores were able to go on the road and take two out of three from the previously No. 1 ranked Gameocks at their house.

Winning pitcher - Blake Cooper (4-0)

Losing pitcher - Nick Christiani (5-2)

Gamecocks in control

Heading into the bottom of the 8th, South Carolina leads this game 8-2. The Commodores picked up their first two runs of the game on consecutive Rbi doubles by center fielder David Macias and second baseman Alex Feinberg.

The runs chased Carolina starter Blake Cooper out of the game, but not until he went 7.2 innings allowing 2 earned runson just 6 hits. The Commodores were aggresive at the plate all day long, and he took advantage of it.

It appears that Carolina is well on their to avoiding the sweep here in Columbia.

All Carolina early

The Gamecocks lead after 3 innings 5-0. Vandy starter Nick Christiani was chased out of the game after pitching just 2.1 innings. Meanwhile, Gamecocks starter Blake Cooper continues to roll in allowing just one hit.

This game has all the makings of a blowout. The Commodores may adjust by being more patient at the plate to make Cooper work. Vanderbilt will certainly need to make some adjustment as their current strategy has been ineffective at producing much at the plate.

Big start for home team

Just as Vanderbilt jumped out to a quick lead in yesterday's game, the Gamecocks did the same today. Third baseman James Darnell took a 1-1 pitch out to left field that bounced to the softball stadium adjacent to the outfield wall. After a four pitch walk to first baseman Justin Smoak, designated hitter Phil Disher stepped and smacked a 1-0 pitch out to left so hard that all left fielder Ryan Davis did was stop and look up.

On the mound, Carolina starter Blake Cooper has not allowed a runner to get past first base in two innings of work against Vanderiblt. In the bottom of the 2nd, the score is now 3-0 Gamecocks lead.

Getaway Day in Columbia

The Gamecocks will try to salvage this weekend's series against Vanderbilt with a win at home wearing their Sunday garnet. The Commodores will look to sweep the Gamecocks wearing their gold uniforms. While there are not 6,000 fans in attendance at Sarge Frye Field, there is still a good crowd here.

The Commodores throw out Nick Christiani (5-1, 3.05 ERA, 33 K, 18 BB) against Carolina's Blake Cooper (3-0, 1.00 ERA, 17 K, 4 BB).

March 31, 2007

Game ends mercifully

Neither the Gamecocks nor the Commodores plated a run after the top of the fifth inning, and it allowed the 12-1 score to finish more quickly. The Commodores clinched the series this weekend with the victory and move to 26-3 for the year, and 5-3 in SEC play.

Meanwhile, the Gamecocks are looking forward to tomorrow to get some sort of redemption against a Vanderbilt team that came out today with a purpose. For the season, South Carolina falls to 22-6, and 4-4 in SEC play.

Winning pitcher - Mike Minor (4-0)

Losing pitcher - Mike Cisco (2-2)

Tomorrow's game starts at 1:30 and will not be televised.

Stretch time in Columbia

At the stretch, there are now many, many more empty seats here in Columbia as fans are leaving possibly to go see the Ohio State-Georgetown Final Four game on television.

It would be easy for someone to lose sight of Mike Minor's pitching performance in the 12-1 ball game, but he really has been unflappable today. In six innings so far, he has allowed just one earned run and 5 hits. Even though Carolina was able to load the bases last inning, the Gamecocks were unable to plate a single run as Minor worked out of the jam.

Afer picking up a very likely two wins in this series, it will be very difficult for the Gamecocks to come out with a top notch effort tomorrow. In a game that tends to rely on momentum, Carolina has had most of the wind taken out of their sails.

On another note, the college game never ceases to amaze me. In the 7th inning of a 12-1 rou, these players are still giving an all out effort. Right fielder Harvey Lail nearly beat out a routine ground ball to short with his hustle. While hustle may no longer be as much a part of the pro game, it is very much still a part of the college game.

This one could get ugly....

At least, the game could get uglier than it already is. Moving into the bottom of the 5th, the Commodores are now leading 12-1 over South Carolina. The fans at Sarge Frye Field are filing out toward the eixts in a hurry. I can see plenty of good seats now made available by the mass exetus.

The Commodores appear to be well on their way to picking up win number two of the weekend series to clinch the series in Columbia. Barring a huge comeback, Vanderbilt has made a case for itself to become the the new No. 1 team in the nation though Florida State will be the more likely team to become No. 1.

Another epic game...

Unfortunately, this is turning into a blowout of epic proportions. The Commodores now lead South Carolina 10-1 after Vandy put a 4 spot on the scoreboard in the 3rd and chased starter Mike Cisco.

Cisco's final line: 2.1 IP, 10 H, 10 R, 8 ER, 2 K, 2 BB.....Yikes!

The Gamecocks brought in reliever Craig Thomas to extinguish the flames in the 3rd and he did so allowing just one run on a sacrifice fly with the bases loaded.

Vanderbilt starter Mike Minor appears to be cruising now that he was able to get out of the first inning. With a nine urn buffer, all he needs to do from here on out is throw strikes for Vandy to win this game.

Phase Two

After a 12 inning marathon last night, this game will be tough on both teams to bring up the same intensity. For Vanderbilt, today is chance to clinch the series against the no. 1 team in the country on the road, while it is a chance for South Carolina to even the score.

Today's game is now well under way as we move into the top of the 3rd, the score is Vanderbilt 6-1. The Commodores have not had to sit back against Carolina starter Mike Cisco at all as they have been able to tee on his offerings early and often. The Commodores picked up three runs in both the first and second inning with the help of RBI singles from catcher Shea Robin, and designated hitter Jonathan White. Two sacrifice flies and a two RBI double by third baseman Pedro Alvarez accounted for the rest of Vandy's 6 runs.

Vandy starter Mike Minor struggled early allowing the bases to get loaded with just one out in the inning. However, he allowed just one run in the first, and did not allow a baserunner in the 2nd.

March 30, 2007

Instant Classic

If this game were televised on ESPN, that's exactly what it would have been called. While sitting on the field waiting on this one to end, the game just continued inning after inning. While both teams had numerous oppurtunities to put this one away, neither team was able to do so until the 12th where the Commodores were able to pick up the 4-3 victory.

In the top of the 12th, the Commodores were able to pick up the go ahead run on an RBI single by pinch hitter Ryan Davis against Carolina reliever Jeff Jeffords scoring center fielder David Macias from second. In the bottom half of the inning, the Gamecocks had their chance when leadoff batter Harvey Lail was hit by a pitch. On a wild pitch, Lail advanced to second. However, catcher Trent Kline lined a ball to third baseman Pedro Alvarez that he was able to leap up and snatch out of the air. He then turned and threw sharply to second to get the third and final out of the inning and the game.

Casey Weathers pitched 4.1 innings in order to pick up the win, while Jef Jeffords is the hard luck loser. Tomorrow's game will be at 4 pm tomorrow and will be televised on Fox Sports Net. It will be hard for tomorrow's game to match excitement and intensity that this one had.

Battle of attrition

While neither Honeycutt nor Price will figure into tonight's decision at this point. Every inning that this game continues is a whole new ball game. The current battle is between Vandy closer Casey Weathers and Carolina setup man Wynn Pelzer. Every at-bat from here on out becomes a monumental shift in momentum. These two titans will continue throwing punches until one of them is able to land the one haymaker that silences their opponent for the night.

Free baseball

In the bottom of the 9th, the Gamcocks were not able to bring across the game winning run so we are headed to extras here. South Carolina had a chance in the inning when second baseman Travis Jones stole second with one out in the inning after picking up a walk.

Shortstop Reese Havens weakly grounded out to second base and Weathers picked off Jones at second to end the inning. This game has delivered all of the xcitement it promised and more. Stay tuned.

Coming down to the wire

After Smoak's game-tying single, Cheyne Hurst grounded the ball to slowly to second and the Commodores were unable to turn two. However, the play was enough to chase David Price from the game.

With Carolina designated hitter Phil Disher on deck, Vandy head coach Tim Corbin brought in flame-throwing closer Casey Weathers to get the last out of the inning. As Price left the game, the crowd at Sarge Frye Field gave him a much deserved round of applause.

Carolina manager Ray Tanner countered by pinch hitting for Disher with left handed hitter Drew Martin. Martin uncorked a 2-2 pitch over the right field wall, but the ball curled just foul. On the net pitch, Weathers blew one by him for out number three. Going into the 9th, it's tied at 3.

Game tied in the 8th

David Price is showing signs of fatgure as his pitch count is now over 110 pitches. First baseman Justin Smoak just tied the game on an RBI single to drive in Harley Lail from 2nd. The rally is not over though as Cheyne Hurst comes plateward with only one out.

Commodores take their first lead

Vandy just took the lead on a suicide squeeze by center fielder Daivd Macias. On the play, Feinberg scored from third and Macias was safe on the play because nobody covered first base.

However, Vandy pinch runner Jonathan White was picked off between third and home on the play to get the second out of the inning. Johnson then struck out Dominic de la Osa on four pitches to end the inning, but Vandy now has the 3-2 lead going intothe bottom of the 7th.

Vandy starting a rally....

In the 7th inning, the Commodores now have runners on 2nd and 3rd with one out with David Macias at the plate. The Gamecocks have just yanked stater harris Honeycutt out of the game. Reliever Curtis Johnson will come into the game to try to keep this one tied.

Price continues to work into and out of jams

In the bottom of the 5th, the Gamecocks picked up a walk to leadoff the inning from shortstop Reese Havens followed by a single from James Darnell. With catcher Trent Kline coming to the plate and just one out in the inning, Carolina figured to have a good chance to break the tie. However, Kline hit a 1-2 pitch right back at David Price, who snowconed the ball for the first out, then turned and threw to second todouble up Havens. Heading into the top of the 6th, the score is still tied at 2.

Vandy makes adjustments and ties the game

Just as I was saying last inning that Vandy was not waiting on pitches from Honeycutt, they came out in the fourth inning and became monk-like with their patience at the plate. Leadoff hitter third baseman Pedro Alvarez singled on a 2-1 count, followed by shortstop Ryan Flaherty's single.

Honeycutt then struck out left fielder Matt Meingasner on a 2-2 count with a fastball right down the pipe. He then got some help from his CF Andrew Crisp on a diving catch in right center field on a line drive hit by Shea Robin.

Vandy would not be denied though as second baseman Alex Feinberg singled up the middle to plate Alvarez. However, CF Andrew Crisp followed up his great play with a bad one by not picking up the ball before he tried to throw it home. Ryan Flaherty scored from first. It's a brand new ball game now.

Commodores not playing Moneyball

With the flame throwing Honeycutt on the mound, you would think that Vandy would be more patient at the plate and force Honeycutt to work for his outs. However, the Commodores are flailing away at pretty much anything that Honeycutt is delivering to the plate.

In three innings, the Commodores have just one hit. An example of their lack of plate discipline came last inning. With their 8-9-1 hitters coming to the plate, Vandy only looked at five pitches before the Gamecocks strolled back to the dugout. The difference in the game to this point has been that Carolina has been more patient at the plate and capitalized on Price's mistake pitches which have allowed them to get on the scoreboard twice.


Between starting pitchers David Price and Harris Honeycutt, they have struck out seven batters through after two innings. Honeycutt is currently winning that battle 4-3.

On the scoreboard, Honeycutt is winning the battle as well. South Carolina picked up another run in the 2nd inning on a two out pop fly single to right field by Harley Lail. Vandy second baseman Alex Feinberg appeared to have a beat on the ball, but it hit the heel of his mitt as he collided with right fielder Pedro de la Osa. The play was ruled a hit much to my surprise, and the play allowed center fielder Andrew Crisp to score from second to make the score 2-0 here in Columbia as the sun is setting.

Carolina fires the first shot....

Justin Smoak delivered and sent a single through the middle to give South Carolina their first run of the game. Price was able to stop the bleedig in a hurry by stirking out the next two Gamecocks hitters in the order to retire the side.

On another note, the crowd here at Sarge Frye is remarkably quiet even after picking up their first run of the ballgame and the early lead. Perhaps Price's last two strikeouts deflated some of the momentum here,

I think we have a developing situation....

The Gamecocks are getting on base early in this game and have capitalized on a couple of pitches that Price has left out over the plate. After singles from James Darnell and Trent Kline, all-SEC first baseman Justin Smoak is at the plate with just one out.

Game of the Year?

It is a perfect night for baseball here at Sarge Frye Field in Columbia, S.C. with not a cloud in the sky as the game starts. Honeycutt's first pitch was delivered at 7:04 pm to right fielder Pedro de la Rosa, and it was a strike. Look for of the same the rest of this game as Vandy's LHP David Price (5-0, 2.79 ERA, 79 K, 13 BB) faces off against Carolina's Honeycutt (6-0, 1.42 ERA, 43 K, 12 BB).

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