LHP Kevin Ziomek (5-0, 0.84) vs. RHP Jay Carmichael (2-1, 1.90)
Saturday (6 p.m.; TV-CSS)
RHP Tyler Beede (5-0, 0.84) vs. RHP Jonathon Crawford (0-3, 4.94)
Sunday (Noon p.m.)
LHP Philip Pfeifer (2-0, 2.01) vs. TBA
No. 2 ranked Vanderbilt swept Auburn last week but dropped a disappointing mid-week encounter with local rival MTSU, 4-1. Vanderbilt's offense lives and dies with Tony Kemp. Kemp, who is batting .420 with 34 hits, had his string of multi-hit games end in the loss to the Blue Raiders when he came up hitless. Despite having seven hits and seven walks against MTSU, Vandy was able to score just one run. Outfielder Connor Harrell (.288, 30 RBIs) leads the Commodores with 5 homers. Third baseman Vince Conde (.315) has 10 RBIs and 3 homers on the season. Right fielder Mike Yastrzemski (.293) saw his hitting average drop back below .300 after failing to reach against MTSU. Junior shortstop Joel McKeithan (.320) had a pair of hits against MTSU.
Kevin Ziomek leads the Vandy pitching staff with an impressive 51 strike outs against only 9 walks. Ziomek should be an early round choice in the next MLB draft. Sophomore pitcher Tyler Beede, who has already been an early round selection in the MLB draft, has the lowest ERA and allows the fewest hits (16) of the Commodore starters. Beede has 31 strike outs but has given up a hefty 21 walks. Philip Pfeifer has been solid filling in for injured T.J. Pecoraro. Pfeifer could be a Friday night starter for many Division 1 programs. The junior righty has 29 strikeouts against only 13 walks. Closer Brian Miller (2-0, 7 saves) has been outstanding for Vandy garnering 16 strike outs against only 2 walks.
The Gators have been thorn in the Commodores side the past couple of seasons. In 2012 Vandy opened its SEC schedule at Florida and Gators dealt a sweep over the Commodores. However, the scales of baseball power appear to be swinging back toward Vandy. Florida (10-12, 1-2 SEC) is having similar early season woes following a College World Series appearance as Vanderbilt had last season. However, this Florida team is still playing somewhat better than the Vandy of early season 2012.
Last week the Gators dropped a home series 2 games to 1 to a solid ninth ranked Kentucky team. On the mound, Vandy's Ziomek will be facing off against Florida freshman righty Jay Carmichael on Friday. Carmichael is a strong pitcher who has the capability to pitch the Gators to a Friday night win. He has a good 1.90 ERA and his fastball reaches into the mid-90s. He's struck out 15 and walked just six in 23.2 innings of work. Right-handed Jonathon Crawford is slated to pitch against Vandy's Tyler Beede on Saturday. Crawford's fastball goes into the low 90s but he's had problems with accuracy and leads the team in walks (11), earned runs (15) and home runs (2). Philip Pfeifer on Sunday will pitch against a pitcher to be announced. Sophomore RHP Johnny Magliozzi (2-0, 2.79 ERA, 4 Saves) is the Gator's closer.
Gone are the Gator bashers from 2011 and 2012. Sophomore designated hitter/pitcher Justin Shafer leads the Gator batters with a solid .333 batting average. Shafer has 11 RBIs and two home runs. Sophomore short stop Casey Turgeon (.306, 3 HR) leads the team in RBIs with 16. He and sophomore third baseman Zack Powers (.274, 14 RBIs) lead the team with three homers each. Freshman left fielder Harrison Bader (.302, 5 RBI) enters the series on a six-game hitting streak.
SEC STANDINGS EAST CONF GB ALL VAN 3-0 - 19-3 USC 2-1 1 18-3 KEN 2-1 1 16-4 TEN 1-2 2 11-9 FLA 1-2 2 10-12 MIZ 1-2 2 7-10 GEO 0-3 3 8-13 WEST CONF GB ALL TAM 3-0 - 15-7 OLM 2-1 1 20-2 LSU 2-1 1 19-2 ALA 2-1 1 13-9 MSU 1-2 2 20-4 ARK 1-2 2 14-7 AUB 0-3 3 15-6SEC THIS WEEK
Florida @ Vanderbilt
Alabama @ Georgia
Arkansas @ South Carolina
Auburn @ LSU
Mississippi State @ Kentucky
Texas A&M @ Ole Miss
Missouri @ Tennessee
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