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
March 23, 2004
Three Tight Games, Three Tight
Monday, March 22
This weekend, we traveled
to Oxford, Miss., for our SEC opener against Ole Miss.
Even though we’ve faced
quality competition thus far, SEC play is totally different. For the first four
weeks of the season, every SEC team has compiled a winning record, showcasing
the talent of our conference to other competition.
Our first SEC opponent
carried a 15-1 record into the weekend. Boasting outstanding pitching and an
even better offense, the Rebels have found their way into many Top 10 polls.
Thursday, March 18
Unlike the Baylor trip, we
did not leave until 12:30 p.m. For me in particular, my day started with class
followed by the five-hour trip to Oxford. When we arrived at the Hampton Inn, we
were greeted by three stuffed lions in separate cases. Apparently, they were
going for an “African” motif in the lobby. I suppose one wasn’t enough, but
maybe there was a “buy two, get one free” deal at the Zimbabwe Stuffed Lion Co.
- oh well...
After an hour of getting
settled in, we had our typical practice at Swayze Field. It was quick, simple
Friday, March 19
Coming off last week’s
embarrassment at Baylor, I needed to rebound.
Before the game, Coach
Johnson stressed the importance of getting a quick first inning. Unfortunately,
things didn’t go as planned. Although I allowed only one run, it negated the run
we scored in the top of the inning. For the first four innings, I lacked command
and couldn’t seem to keep Ole Miss off the bases. After four innings, we were
Thanks to a Worth Scott
home run in the top of the 5th, the offense recaptured the lead. It
was time to step it up a notch. After talking with Coach Johnson, we concluded I
was throwing rather tentatively. Something was missing in my demeanor. Instead
of simply attacking Ole Miss with confidence, I was trying to make the perfect
pitch - trying to do too much. So, my final three innings experienced a change.
I threw pitches with conviction and kept our 4-3 lead into the eighth inning.
Ryan Rote came in to close the final two innings. After Ole Miss tied the game
in the 8th, we headed into the bottom of the 9th tied 4-4.
With no margin for error, Rote left a pitch over the plate, and Barry Gunther
ended the game with a home run.
Saturday, March 20
Today was a great example
of playing an outstanding first half and a dismal second half.
Thanks to another
outstanding pitching performance by Jensen Lewis and constant baserunners, we
went into the seventh inning with a 5-0 lead. With the Rebels chipping away, the
score in the bottom of the ninth was 5-3. Similar to Friday night, Ryan Rote
struggled and surrendered three runs in one-third of an inning - another
walk-off loss (6-5).
Although the game was in
our hands for almost the entire game, it should have been out of reach. We
failed to execute several times with runners in scoring position to extend our
lead. We let Ole Miss hang in too long. It came back to haunt us - another tough
one to swallow.
Sunday, March 21
No surprise - another close
game decided in the end. In a pitcher’s duel, Ryan Mullins was edged by Ole Miss
pitcher Brae Wright. After scoring in the first, Wright completely shut our
offense down the remainder of the game. And after two costly errors in the
seventh, Ole Miss went up 3-1 and never looked back completing the sweep. In
contrast to last week, the trip back was full of disappointment.
Being swept is a horrible
feeling, even worse under the circumstances. A flip of the coin could have given
Vanderbilt the sweep, but we failed to get the big hit, whereas Ole Miss did. So
what do you do? Simple. We’ve got our target set on Tuesday’s opponent -
Morehead State. We just have to get back up and keep fighting.
Rough Outing Eased by Series Win (3/16/04)
Sweep of the Bearcats (3/9/04)
(photo courtesy of Vanderbilt Media Relations Office)