With final exams behind us, we headed to Lexington last weekend for a match up against the Kentucky Wildcats. We lost 2-0 on Friday, but quickly responded to win 10-3 on Saturday and 6-3 on Sunday. Last week I wrote that Alex Meyer is one of the best pitchers in the country and he definitely pitched like it on Friday, throwing a complete game shutout. Sonny Gray was saddled with the loss, which is a shame because he also threw a complete game in one of his best outings of the year.
We jumped out to a quick lead Saturday thanks to a six-run first inning, capped off by Conrad Gregor’s grand slam. Just freshmen, both Tony Kemp and Conrad have been great sparkplugs for our offense all year long. Grayson Garvin once again channeled his inner John Olerud and pitched eight strong innings for us.
Sunday was Mother’s Day and obviously everyone wants to win for their moms on Mother’s Day, so we knew the game would come down to the wire. Tied 3-3 in the ninth with two outs and runners on first and third Jason Esposito, Mike Yastrzemski and Curt Casali came through with consecutive RBI-singles to give us a 6-3 lead. Navery Moore and Corey Williams then closed the game, and we went back to Nashville with the series win.
Our two-out offense has been unbelievable so far this season. We try to take an approach of never allowing a pitcher to throw a quick, easy inning and this idea is defined by our concentration and focus even after two of the three outs have been recorded. Anything can happen before the third and final out is made and we have taken full advantage of it.
With school being over for the year (or forever for some people), we are able to basically live the life of a professional baseball player—focusing on baseball and nothing else. However, there are some overachievers, such as Anthony Gomez, that take a Maymester class. Maymester courses are four weeks long, three hours a day, and are usually not offered at any other time of the year. One course that some guys choose to take is American Studies 240: Baseball in American Society. Professor Bruce Oppenheimer, a member of the Political Science Department at Vanderbilt, teaches the class about the integral part baseball has had on the continuous growth of America. I took the class after my freshman year, and it is still one of my favorite courses.
For those who do not take a Maymester class, there is plenty of time for golfing (Corey Williams, Will Clinard, Steven Rice), hanging by the pool (Jack Armstrong, Mark Lamm, Aaron Westlake, Taylor Hill, myself) or going to movies (Joe Loftus, Bryan Johns, Jack Lupo). We also have more time to concentrate on baseball, so we usually get to the field a little earlier on our own to take some extra swings or do a few more drills.
This week is a very busy one for us. We traveled to Louisville last night for a game, defeating the Cardinals 5-1. Today we will begin to prepare for our weekend showdown with the Florida Gators. A College World Series team last year, Florida definitely has themselves in position to return to Omaha next month.
On top of the games this weekend, we also have graduation on Friday morning. Curt Casali, Taylor Hill, Bryan Johns, Aaron Westlake and I will be up bright and early to receive our diplomas and then shift our focus to the Gators. Dan Harris, our director of baseball operations, Tyler Pirtle, our manager, and David Schnabel, our video coordinator, will also be graduating. They may not be as well known as some of our players, but they deserve just as much credit for the jobs they perform as we do for our jobs on the field.
Until next week—Go ’Dores
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