Jeremy Sowers is a junior lefty at Vanderbilt, who chose to pitch for the Commodores despite being the 20th overall pick out of high school by the Cincinnati Reds. Regarded as one of the elite pitchers in the country, Sowers went 7-5 with a 2.50 ERA in 115 innings with 123 strikeouts and 29 walks as a sophomore, going 7-0 with a 2.11 ERA in his last nine starts. A native of St. Clairsville, Ohio, Sowers has a twin brother – Josh – who is a right-hander at Yale. Jeremy will provide a look at Vandy’s quest to reach the NCAA tournament and the ever-tough SEC throughout the season.



March 16, 2004

Rough Outing Eased by Series Sweep


Thursday March 11


So its 3:30 a.m., and I am awake. We have a flight at 6 a.m. headed to Dallas, Texas.


Unfortunately, the other flight is not until the afternoon, and we need to be at Baylor Ballpark practicing by 7 p.m. Today is certainly going to be long. Even though I do not routinely sleep on planes, under the present circumstances, my body does not particularly care. I am out.


Much of the same for the bus ride from Dallas to Waco. We get to our Hampton Inn early in the afternoon. Since practice isn't until 7, the entire team passes out in their rooms.


Despite the hell of a 3:30 morning, our team takes great advantage of the practice time, learning all the oddities of Baylor's field. The slick rye grass, and the extremely stale air. Much different from our friendly Hawkins Field. We end practice with our lovely core routine - and get to bed.


Friday March 12


Baseball is a funny game sometimes.


Today, more so than ever before, I believe in the presence of the infamous "Baseball Gods." Despite throwing strikes, working ahead of hitters and forcing weak contact, I allow eight runs in 3 innings. This is easily the worst start of my life, and I cannot completely understand why. The entire team cannot catch a break, every bounce favors
Baylor, and we get waxed 12-0.


I do not wish to take anything from Baylor, especially its offense. After struggling for the past several games, I'm sure they were due for some luck. All their hitters did an outstanding job battling with 2 strikes, and essentially created their own luck by putting the ball in play.


After the game Coach Corbin simply told us to flush it and come back tomorrow to get back on track. He understood the circumstances, and he knew we would bounce back. We still had Saturday and Sunday to win the series.


As for myself, I spent the evening pitying myself. As a starting pitcher, it is very difficult to "get over" a tough outing because it will be an entire week before a chance at redemption. My only choice is to cheer my teammates until I get back on the mound.


Saturday March 13


1-0 games are the best. They're fast, and it’s a great confidence boost for the pitching staff. Thanks to a wonderful performance from Jensen Lewis, Vandy evened the series to one game apiece.


On a Mike Baxter RBI single, we took a 1-0 lead in the first inning. Jensen threw seven, followed by Matt Buschmann and Ryan Rote sealing the deal in the final two innings. Although Baylor threatened several times, our pitchers managed to make the big pitches to get the key outs.


Despite garnering tons of confidence Friday night, the shutout knocked Baylor's confidence back a few steps. Before the series, Baylor had lost a few tough games from lack of offense. We brought that feeling back. The first few innings of Sunday's game would be key. If we could throw up a couple runs and hold Baylor's offense down, we would have a great chance to take the series.


Sunday March 14


Today's game was a boxing match. Both teams went back and forth for a few innings until we gave the knockout punch.


Our starter Ryan Mullins struggled from the start, unable to command his curveball for strikes. In reaction, Baylor sat on the fastball, and put five runs on the scoreboard in 2.1 innings. With the score 5-4, Jeff Sues relieved Mullins and gave us the window we needed. In 3.2 innings of relief, Sues allowed no runs, and showcased pitch-ability we had not seen since last year. By holding Baylor down, Sues allowed out offense to deliver the huge blow in the fourth inning, scoring four runs. The 8-5 lead eventually led to an 11-7 victory.


Overall, if two starters do not make it to the fourth inning, and only one run was scored for the other starter, it would not be hard to believe the team got swept. However, through perseverance and mental toughness, Vanderbilt battled all weekend, and came out with two of three. This is huge for the program going into SEC play next weekend. Hopefully Mullins and I got our bad starts out of the way, and can pitch to our potential next time out.


The trip home is definitely easier with a series win.


Jeremy Sowers


Previous Entry

Sweep of the Bearcats (3/9/04)


(photo courtesy of Vanderbilt Media Relations Office)