Sunday, February 17, 2013

Vanderbilt Series Recap

In lieu of the "Live Blog" today....

Well, it wasn't exactly a Dirtbag-like game, but an impressive performance by the bats got the job done in a game what was filled with notable performances by the newcomers (see below).

What We Learned
The pitching staff still has lots of question marks
Though Shane Carle turned in a solid showing on Saturday, many of the other non-mop up pitchers had their struggles. Landon Hunt surrendered nine hits and seven earned runs in 4.1 innings, while Jon Maciel got killed by his defense on Friday but was still on the hook for five runs in four innings. 

Vanderbilt's offense is everything it was advertised to be
The Commodores ran wild on the bases, picking up seven steals and seemingly taking extra bases at will. The patient lineup also drew 18 walks. The pitching staff wasn't dominating but at times showed flashes of brillance and got strong starts from Kevin Ziomek and Tyler Beede. These guys are Omaha contenders for sure.

Richard Prigatano could have a huge year, but...
Prigatano picked up a double in each game versus the vaunted Vandy pitching staff, but he added strikeouts in each contest for good measure (two on Friday). He also drew a crucial bases load-walk, though it was the only free pass he earned for the series. On the whole Prigatano was 4-for-12 with three doubles, five RBIs, and four K's. Watch it with the whiffs, Richard.

The defense.... WTF
I guess that's not something we "learned" but still... The gloves sharpened up on Sunday, but the Dirtbags committed six errors in the first two games, including back-breakers from CF Josh Guerra (dropped fly ball) and SS Michael Hill (booted DP ball). To his credit, 2B Jeff McNeil had some nice plays over the weekend.

What It Means
Despite losing the series, the Dirtbags did have effectively a "record neutral" weekend, thanks to the new RPI. LBSU picks up 1.3 "wins" and suffered 1.4 "losses". Today's win is pretty much assured to be an "RPI top 25" victory, which the selection committee takes a close look at. The Dirtbags had just three "top 25" wins last year.

The New Guys
We finally got to meet some of the new faces for Long Beach, so let me stop trying to feign a good introduction and get right to the players...

C Eric Huitting surprised us all by batting second on opening day, then reaching base his first two career plate apperances. For the series he went 2-for-6 with three walks and a double.

CF Colby Brenner of course K'd in his first two at bats of the year after striking out all of 11 times last season, but he rebounded nicely to draw four walks in his final two games. He also got a hit-by-pitch (get used to that) and a steal while leading off for the Dirtbags. 

RHP David Hill nearly completed the three-inning-save on Sunday, but was driven out after a Connor Harrell homer. He finished with four hits, three K's, and two walks in 2.2 innings.

RHP Ryan Millison still is having his noted control problems, issuing three walks and two wild pitches in two relief appearances (1.2 innings), though he did have a huge strikeout against Tony Kemp on Sunday.  

INF Jonathan Serven committed an error at third base in his LBSU debut then went 1-for-4 on Sunday. He also laid down a sac bunt. Jonathan, you are now officially a Dirtbag.

RHPs Ty Provencher and Logan Lombana, INFs Alex DeGoti and Zack Rivera, and OF Zack Belanger all got cups of coffee in the series but did little of note. 

Up Next: The home opener with Arizona is less than 48-hours away. I gotta get to work on the series preview. Good night, folks...