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
April 20, 2004
Hogs Go Wild, but Commodores'
Goals Still Within Reach
Friday, April 16
Today begins yet another important series for Vanderbilt.
Since every home game is precious, it is pivotal to win every home series. This
week we have Arkansas, fresh off a three-game sweep at LSU. Although they're not
as talented as most, they play as good of team baseball as anyone out there.
Their new coach (I think in his second season) Van Horn has turned the program
into a highly competitive team.
This morning, I woke early (probably too early) at 7:30 for classes. Thankfully,
my old age gets me in bed around 11 or 12 every night, so I was well-rested
(according to college standards). Since the game was not until 7 p.m., I had
planned on catching Tarantino's latest: Kill Bill Vol. 2. Being a huge fan, I
was highly anticipating the sequel to the best movie of 2003 (in my humble
opinion). After class, I met my roommate Matt at the theater for the 12:40 p.m.
showing. I was not disappointed - an excellent movie.
After the flick, I drove to relax with Ashley (girlfriend) for about an hour
before heading to the Smoothie King, then the locker room. I polished my shoes,
got dressed, watched Arkansas BP, then began stretching and throwing.
Normally, my pre-game bullpen strongly reflects my performance on the field, at
least initially. My bullpen was great, I was hitting spots and throwing my junk
However, something didn't transfer with me to the mound. For the first two
innings, I could not throw anything where I wanted. Although I was not erratic,
I was missing all around the plate, working behind in counts. When throwing 1-0,
2-0, etc. pitches, every hitter knows a FB is coming, so I got hit. After four
hits, two walks and a HBP, the score going into the bottom of the second was
6-0. Thanks to a three-run HR by Aaron Garza, we cut the lead to 6-3, but both
offenses were completely shut-down from there.
If I had to take one good thing from my miserable outing, it was that my last
four innings were great. Using Coach Johnson's advice, I "started over," cleared
my mind and somehow regained all my command. I surrendered 0 hits and 0 runs
from the third-sixth innings. Unfortunately, the six were more than enough for
Arkansas. The Razorbacks won 6-3.
Saturday, April 17
Nothing is more fun than running 40 minutes, lifting weights and doing a
med-ball program after pitching horrible.
If there's one drawback to being a starting pitcher, it's that you must wait a
week to redeem a bad outing. For the entire workout, I'm thinking about my
start, and the one or two breaks that could've made everything change. If I had
not hit Toops with two strikes in the second, not thrown a wild pitch with
runners on first and second in the first, etc.
However, a win today would've changed everything. No such luck.
Jensen Lewis struggled getting his pitches down and surrendered three HRs in
less than five innings. This was coupled with a stagnant offense that couldn't
manage a hit before two outs. We did hit quite a few balls hard, but it's hard
to start a rally with two outs.
On the bright side, we did manage three
runs in the 9th inning, but it wasn't nearly enough.
We lost again, this time 9-4.
Sunday, April 18
Something needed to happen today. Under no circumstances could we be swept at
Thankfully, we fed off some early momentum.
Starter Ryan Mullins kept Arkansas shut down early, and we knocked their starter
(White) out in the first inning, scoring four runs.
For the most part, the game wasn't very pretty (from a pitching standpoint), but
sometimes the offense picks us up. Every time they scored on our pitchers, our
hitters had a better answer. After 14 runs on 13 hits, including HRs by Cesar
Nicolas and Jon Douillard, we managed to salvage the final game of the series.
Vandy 14 Arkansas 8.
Although we were disappointed about losing the series, winning Sunday's game at
least gives us momentum going into a tough week, with our next five games on the
road. As of now we're 26-10 (7-8 SEC), so we're still in very good reach of our
goals. Our starting pitching is a catalyst of the team. We will surely bounce
back and take some weight off our offense.
In the meantime I'll be working on finals, quizzes, papers and projects. Playing
baseball and going to Vandy definitely teaches the art of organization and time
Trumping the Tide (4/13/04)
The Invasion of the Gamecocks (4/8/04)
Get Out the Brooms (3/30/04)
Three Tight Games, Three Tight Losses (3/23/04)
Rough Outing Eased by Series Win (3/16/04)
Sweep of the Bearcats (3/9/04)
(photo courtesy of Vanderbilt Media Relations Office)