Wednesday, May 11, 2011

5/10/11 Vanderbilt Commodores 5, University of Louisville Cardinals 1

Jim Patterson Stadium, Louisville, KY
Game 1 of 1 (Patriotic Night)

Vanderbilt Commodores (ranked #1, 40-6, SEC Conference 19-5)
University of Louisville Cardinals (25-23, Big East Conference 11-10)

The entrance gate of Jim Patterson Stadium in Louisville (corner of Central Ave. and 3rd Street, right next door to Papa John’s Cardinal Stadium)

This was the first College Baseball game I’ve ever attended. Marty and I had been discussing checking out Cardinals Baseball (especially since I found out the games are FREE ADMISSION); he called me last weekend and we set it up…here we are at beautiful Jim Patterson Stadium, a very nice ballpark indeed (330’ in the corners, 402’ in straightaway center). The foul ball netting literally envelops the majority of spectator seating, as the rocket-launchers of the past probably would have turned quite a few heads.

As most of you know, the NCAA changed the rules on bats a little this year, and I believe they now have a composite core which deadens the impact a little. True, most of the hitting tonight ‘felt’ like hits off of wood bats, and almost sounded the same way…but not quite. It’s also true that with the previous type of aluminum bats, lots of fly balls would have been true taters.

The Louisville Cardinals started out the season as a ranked team, but have slipped out of favor over the last couple of months. Meanwhile, the Vanderbilt Commodores have been turning a lot of heads. Tonight’s game was more or less a revolving door duel of some pretty good pitching…if not for an out-of-hand 2nd inning it would have been a tie ball game. The bottom of Vanderbilt’s lineup took fair advantage of the speed and location of Mike Nastold to take an early 4-0 lead in the game. Chad Green gave up another unearned run in the 4th, then Louisville answered with a solo-HR from Jeff Gardner in the 8th.

I was a bit unprepared to see the frequency of pitching changes for Louisville…10 pitchers in 9 innings, most rotating one inning after the other. I asked my friend Greg Schaum about this, and his response makes sense; Tuesday games are probably the best opportunity for the Louisville coaching staff to get some work in for relievers or kids who haven’t been able to work much at all.

You should really take a moment or two and check out Greg's fantastic website, Pine Tar Press...great stuff!

I was very impressed with the talent from both dugouts; these are some big boys! They don’t move as fast at this age, but the pitchers threw faster than I had expected (and a bit wilder too, as far as hitting batters goes) and the defense from both teams was very formidable.

I took a great deal of pictures, rather than recap the entire game, let’s allow the pictures to take you through the game and I’ll share some lines as we go along. I also made a few notes on velocity and pitch types, you’ll see that in the lines as well.

Please don’t forget…I’m not a professional scout, I’ve had no training, I’m only evaluating pitches from wherever I am sitting, at home or at the park…what I think is a fastball (FB), could be a back door slider sometimes…I just can’t really tell, yet. Some of the breaking balls could be something else as well…I felt like more often than not, I could determine different pitches from more than just the reading on the stadium gun, so I made my best amateur effort to express that…

Before the game, Vanderbilt RHP Robert Hansen warms up (but did not pitch this evening)

View of the field from the top of the Visitors’ dugout

Vanderbilt takes fungoe drills before the game!

Louisville starter Travis Tingle warms up with Catcher J.J. Ethel

Vanderbilt LF Conrad Gregor (0-for-4, BB) faces Louisville RHP Travis Tingle (1IP, H, 4BF, 15 pitches, 9 strikes, 88-91 mph FB)

Vanderbilt 3B Jason Esposito (0-for-3, HBP, BB) grounds out to Louisville 1B Cade Stallings to end the top of the 1st inning

Louisville 2B Ty Young (1-for-4, 2B) faces Vanderbilt LHP Kevin Ziomek (3IP, 2H, 0R, BB, K, 10BF, 24 pitches, 16 strikes, 88-92 mph FB)

Vanderbilt CF Connor Harrell (2-for-4, HR, 2RBI) swings and misses against Louisville LHP Mike Nastold (1IP, 5H, 4ER, K, 2HR, 8BF, 24 pitches, 17 strikes, 88-89 mph FB) – the next pitch was Harrell’s 2-run HR with 1 out. There was no doubt that Nastold had little difficulty placing the pitch right over the plate at a decent velocity.

Louisville LF Ryan Seiz (0-for-3) grounds into a 6-4 force out (J.J. Ethel out at 2B) against Ziomek

Louisville 1B Cade Stallings (0-for-2, BB, LIDP) faces Ziomek in the 2nd with 1 on and 1 out

Stallings Lines into a Double Play (4-3) to end the inning

Vanderbilt RF Mike Yastrzemski faces Louisville RHP Jeff Thompson (1IP, BB, K, 0R, 0H, 4BF, 17 pitches, 10 strikes, 88-89 mph FB)

Yastrzemski (2-for-3, R, BB, HBP) is the grandson of HOF Carl Yastrzemski, and the son of late MLB player Mike Yastrzemski, who died tragically in 2004 at the age of 43 following complications from hip surgery. He does go by “Yaz” these days, and was drafted by the Red Sox in 2009 only to decide to attend Vanderbilt instead.

Vanderbilt C Curt Casali (1-for-3, R, 2RBI, 2K) faces Thompson

Casali strikes out swinging

Louisville DH Kyle Gibson (1-for-2, GIDP) fouls back against the screen against Ziomek

Louisville CF Adam Engel (1-for-4, K) looks at strike 3 from Ziomek to end the 3rd inning

Vanderbilt SS Anthony Gomez (2-for-5, GIDP) faces Louisville RHP Chad Green (1IP, H, R (unearned), BB, 5BF, 13 pitches, 9 strikes) – this was the pitch that saw Gomez hit into a Double Play, deflecting off Green first, then SS Ryan Wright (0-for-4) to 1B Cade Stallings. Green was OK and finished the top of the 4th one pitch later as Vanderbilt 1B Aaron Westlake flied out to CF Adam Engel

Louisville C J.J. Ethel (0-for-3, BB, K) faces Vanderbilt RHP T.J. Pecoraro (3IP, 3H, 0R, BB, 12BF, 30 pitches, 20 strikes, 88-90 mph FB)

Ethel lines out to Vanderbilt SS Anthony Gomez

Mike Yastrzemski looks at Ball 2 from Louisville RHP Dace Kime (1IP, H, 0R, K, 2HBP, 5BF, 20 pitches, 8 strikes); Catcher J.J.Ethel reaches up from the crouch to throw out runner going on the play (Esposito), CS 2-6

Louisville 3B Alex Chittenden (2-for-3) faces Vanderbilt RHP T.J. Pecoraro in the bottom of the 5th inning

Adam Engel against Pecoraro

Pecoraro has very interesting mechanics, he nearly crouches all the way down to earth as he releases…

Connor Harrell faces Louisville RHP Tony Zych (1IP, 3BF, 9 pitches, 6 strikes). Zych hails from St Rita HS in Monee, IL and was by far the best and most efficient Louisville pitcher of the game. He owned his 6th inning of work (3 up, 3 down; 2 retired on groundouts and one flyout to RF), and was the 6th Louisville pitcher of the game.

Vanderbilt 1B Aaron Westlake (2-for-5) faces Louisville LHP Cody Ege in the 7th.

Westlake singles to 2B; Ege (0.1IP, H, BB, 3BF, 12 pitches, 5 strikes) was lifted early 2 batters later in favor of RHP Andy Flett (1IP, 0R, HBP, 4BF, 12 pitches, 7 strikes, 88-89 mph FB)

Flett was in turn replaced in the 8th with one batter down by LHP Cole Sturgeon (0.2IP, 2BF, 10 pitches, 5 strikes). Sturgeon threw a handy 74-76 mph Breaking Ball, retiring the last 2 batters in order on weak ground balls to short

Cade Stallings faces Vanderbilt LHP Corey Williams (1IP, 0R, BB, K, 4BF, 15 pitches, 8 strikes, 81 mph Breaking Ball, 94-95 mph FB)

Louisville PH Jeff Gardner (in his only AB of the evening, batting in the 8th inning for Kyle Gibson) blasts his first College career HR, a solo shot to RC field off of Vanderbilt RHP Mark Lamm (1IP, H, R, ER, HR, 4BF, 11 pitches, 6 strikes, 91-93 mph FB) to put the Cardinals on the board

Mike Yastrzemski faces Louisville RHP Matt Koch (1IP, H, K, 4BF, 17 pitches, 9 strikes, 82 mph Breaking Ball, 92-93 mph FB) in the 9th inning

Louisville RF Stewart Ijames (pronounced YYYAahhhMMS) faces Vanderbilt RHP Navery Moore (1IP, 0R, 3BF, 10 pitches, 7 strikes, 81-82 mph Breaking Ball, 94 mph FB)

Ijames (0-for-3, BB) grounds out to 2B, Moore’s first out of the bottom of the 9th

Marty and I in the gravel lot after the game…we’ll be BACK!!

Official Scorecard and Gameday Stats

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