Friday, March 2, 2007

Commodores > Musketeers: Xavier Comes to Hawkins Field

The Xavier University Musketeers make their way to Hawkins Field today for a weekend series with your Commies in what will be the final series in an impressive 11-game, undefeated (thus far) home stand for the Commies.

Xavier enters the series with a less then stellar record at 1-7, their lone win coming against Oakland in Lexington, KY. (On a side note, they lost the second game of the double header to SEC foe, Kentucky, who is also off to a fast start improving to 9-0.)

The Musketeers are led by seniors Matt Waskerwitz and Adam Lipski and two sophomores: Steve Brown and Adam Pasono. The quartet accounted for 157 of the team’s 487 hits and 63 of 225 RBI in 2006. The Musketeers lost senior powerhouse Sean Brewer who led the team in average, hits, AB’s, TB’s, and SLG%. On the season, the Musketeers are hitting .234 and have been outscored by nearly double the amount of runs, 27-51. Currently, Jordan Wolf leads the team with a batting average of .391. He also has Xavier’s only home run on the season.

Last season, the Xavier pitching staff averaged almost a 5.5 ERA on the season. This season, it hasn’t gotten much better. The current season hasn’t been much of an improvement, if any, as the team currently is dragging around a 6.44 ERA, allowing 41 earned runs through their first 8 games, compared to their opponents only allowing 20.

On the mound the series will be Michael Lucas (0-0, 4.91 ERA) today, senior Bill Konecy (0-1, 1.50 ERA) on Saturday. Unfortunately, I can’t relay starting information on Sunday because second year head coach, Scott Googins, has not yet decided on a pitcher. The Commies rotation will most likely be David Price, Nick Christiani, and finally Brett Jacobson.

The Commies remained atop the Collegiate Baseball newspaper poll for the second straight week. The Baseball America had the Commies ranked no. 3, moving up one spot from last week’s ranking.

Right now, the team is on a tear. They are off to their second best start in school history and with a win this afternoon, could tie the 2005 start of 12-0, a school record. (Personally, I think it can be done, but hey, I’m just stating the facts here.) In the first 10 games of the past four of five seasons (since Coach Corbin took over), the Commies record has improved: 6-4 (2003), 9-1 (2004), 10-0 (2005), 5-5 (2006) and 10-0 (2007).

Last week, the Commies hit .356 with six home runs, seven doubles, and scored 42 runs. The pitching staff had 50 strikeouts and only 10 walks in 36 innings of baseball. Ryan Flaherty has settled in nicely this season, going 8-for-16 with two homers, a double, six runs scored and seven RBI last week to lead the Vanderbilt offense. Dominic de la Osa carries a seven game hitting streak into today’s contest after going 8-16 last week as well with two homers, four RBI and five runs scored. Pedro Alvarez, with four hits on Tuesday, bumped his average up to a team-leading .458. Parker Hanks and Kurt Lipton, two players that don’t usually start, got in on the action as well and made the most of their opportunity. Hanks got a start against BC and went 4-for-7 (.571) in three games while Lipton made three starts and hit .500 (5-10).

Not to be out-performed by the offense, the pitching staff has been lights out. Nick Christiani pitched six shutout innings and struck out a career high nine batters and moved to 2-0 on the season. David Price chalked up another double-digit strike out performance against Pittsburgh and joined Christiani at 2-0 on the year. The Commie Closer, Casey Weathers, had a streak going: 9 batters, 9 strikeouts in three innings of relief. Unfortunately, that streak ended when he gave up a hit in his second inning of relief against Pitt. On the season, however, he has struck out 13 in 7.2 innings and only allowed ONE hit.

Lastly, as mentioned by Seamus below, Commies on the diamond have been getting a lot of great press recently with the Coach Corbin piece on and a feature on and on Commie Closer Casey Weathers. (Too bad you have to sign up and pay for a subscription for both stories. I'll see if I can find them, somewhere.)

Supposedly, another national publication is working on a feature about the success of Vandy’s athletics and should be published within a few weeks.
If you’re located in the Southeast and you want to get a first-hand look at the Commies, College Sports Southeast is going to broadcast four games: April 21st game against Tennessee at 6 p.m., the April 29th game against Florida at 1 p.m. and the May 18th and 19th games against LSU at 7 p.m. and noon CT respectively, while Fox Sports South will pick up South Carolina game on March 31 at 3 p.m. and the Sun Network will show the Florida contest on April 28 at 3 p.m.

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