Saturday, June 5, 2010

Big News from Louisville: Cardinal Ace Won't Start Today against #2 Vanderbilt

Or so reports the VUCommodores blog. More from the report: "Due to sickness, ace junior right-hander Thomas Royce (9-1, 2.91 ERA) will not start against the Commodores. Royse, named this week as a third-team Collegiate Baseball All-American, did not start against Saint Louis and Cardinal assistant coach Chris Lemonis said this when asked about him at their post-game press conference last night: 'Thomas could be available (later this weekend) . . . He's been a little under the weather the last day or two.'" This is a real opportunity for the Commodores (if it's true that is, this time of year, there's a lot of gamesmanship that goes on). Instead, Louisville will send freshman RHP Matt Koch (2-0, 3.55 ERA) to the hill. In 10 appearances, 5 of which were starts, Koch has 28 strikeouts and eight walks in 38.0 innings of action. This development is a high-risk, high-reward proposition for Louisville: if they win, then they will head to an elimination game with their ace on the bump; if they lose, however, they've still got their ace, but have their backs firmly up against the wall and will almost certainly opt to use their ace against either Illinois State or St. Louis, not the Commodores.

The Commodores, on the other hand, will send ace Sonny Gray to the mound in an attempt to do something they haven't done in a while: advance to a regional championship game via the winner's bracket. As I mentioned yesterday, given the war of attrition that was yesterday's 8-7 win, Coach Corbin will need a strong outing from Sonny after using 5 pitchers yesterday. Beyond that, the Commodores needs to be able to get more production with men on base (they stranded 17 yesterday).

For me, the two keys numbers in today's game are 6+ and 7+:
- Vanderbilt is now an astonishing 33-1 this season when scoring 6 runs or more
- 7+ refers to Sonny's innings pitched. The Commodores really need their ace to get through the 7th against this potent Louisville offense.

With that said, If Gray pitches the way he's capable, and the Commodores can get opportune hits and put some runs on the board, this Vanderbilt team and their fans will find themselves in an unusual position for an NCAA Regional: the driver's seat.

We'll have another live-blog starting this afternoon at 3pm, we hope you'll join us.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

There was one way to make yesterday's game less than 13 inning. It was the 10th or 11th (?) when we had a lead-off double and then Corbin didn't have Harris sac bunt the guy over to third. Harris pops out we end up not scoring at all. A sac bunt give us two chances to score the guy from 3rd on a simply fly ball. Has Corbin been watching too much american idol or something?