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.



May 17, 2004

Going a Little Extra in the Bayou


Another weekend on the road. This time we’re going down to Baton Rouge to play LSU. By far, this is the best atmosphere in college baseball. Their fans are knowledgeable, appreciative and very hospitable. This will be my second trip in my career, and I consider myself very fortunate to have the opportunity to pitch in front of its crowds more than once.


Obviously, this series is very important to our team, since the battle for the eight tournament spots is becoming intense. LSU has one of the best offenses in the league, so our pitchers must have a great weekend to give us a chance. But no matter what happens, the weekend will be awesome.


Friday, May 15


Bad weather. The entire field was already saturated by the 11 inches of rain in the past two weeks. When we got to the field, LSU started taking about 5 minutes of batting practice before the rain came down. It continued to come down for the remainder of the evening, so the game has been postponed until tomorrow. Starting at 11 a.m., we will play a doubleheader.


Saturday, May 16


Breakfast at 7 a.m. Even though I went to sleep before midnight and got about eight hours of sleep, my body still knows I should be sleeping at this hour. This morning, we had to eat the Holiday Inn breakfast. It was not too bad, but I would’ve much rather had McDonald’s for a third of the price.


We left for the field around 9:45 a.m., and I slept for most of the 20-minute drive. We got to the field, which was still soaked and continuing to receive rain. Unlike other starts, I decided to stretch early with the team, in a desperate attempt to get loose in the morning. It kinda worked, but I still wasn’t quite there. Eventually, I just assumed I wouldn’t be able to feel completely stretched.


The game started on time, and proved to be exciting. Although I did not have good command or a good breaking ball, my defense (especially the outfielders) played outstanding, giving me three double plays, and keeping the game close. Also, thanks to lots of first-pitch contact, I was able to keep my pitch count very low. At the end of nine innings, the score was 2-2, and I had thrown 105 pitches.


In the top of the 10th we did nothing, so I went back out for the bottom of the inning. I had never thrown more than nine innings in a single game, so this was a new experience. The leadoff hitter, Will Harris, took advantage of a belt-high fastball and singled. Blake Gill then bunted back to me. I thought we had a chance at second for the force, but my catcher called "1," and I didn’t argue. We needed an out, so I threw it to first for the sure thing. We intentionally walked the next hitter (J.C. Holt) to set up the double play. This was the last batter I faced. Coach Corbin wanted a fresh arm, so he brought in Jensen Lewis. I walked to the dugout, receiving a standing ovation from the LSU fans (which was awesome).


Unfortunately, Jensen did not have very good command. After walking Ryan Patterson, he worked behind Matt Liuzza with the bases loaded. With a full count Liuzza hit a fly ball to CF, which was deep enough for the winning run to tag from third. We lost 3-2.


After 30 minutes of break time, we had another game to start. We bounced on LSU starter Justin Meier early and worked a 4-0 lead going into the sixth. LSU got to starter Ryan Mullins and tagged three runs in the sixth. With the bases loaded and one out, we brought in Jeff Sues, who managed to get an inning-ending double play to keep the score in our favor. He continued to pitch effectively, and we added two runs, making the lead 6-3 in the eighth. Once again, LSU put together a string of hits and tied the game at 6-6. Extra innings again.


Once a game goes into extras, the home team has the definite advantage. When the away pitcher goes out, he cannot make any mistakes: it’s do or die. Our closer, Ryan Rote, managed to shut down LSU in the ninth and 10th, but finally got beat in the 11th. We lost another game in extras, this time 7-6.


So today we played about 21 innings, and lost two heartbreakers. However, we played excellent baseball, and we left everything on the field. After the game Coach Corbin said he was proud, and the only thing we could do was come back tomorrow hungry for a win.


Sunday, May 16


More rain today. After five innings of play (Vandy 2, LSU 0), a huge storm came in a forced a rain delay. After about 90 minutes (give or take), play resumed. In the sixth and seventh innings, we scored five runs and extended our lead to 7-0, plenty for Matt Buschmann who went the distance. Today, Buschmann was unhittable, and his confidence was through the roof. After another solo HR by Ryan Klosterman (who went a solid 5-5, 2 HRs), Buschmann shut LSU down in the ninth, and we won 8-0.


Although we dropped the first two games of the series, we were very proud of our play this weekend. We pitched well (against a team hitting .330), played outstanding defense and hit the ball well. Now we’re at the 35-win mark (35-16, 13-14 SEC) and have our four remaining games at home against Middle Tennessee State and Kentucky. If we win two more games, we will tie the record for most wins in a season at Vanderbilt (including postseason). This next week is only going to get more exciting.


Jeremy Sowers


Previous Entries

Commodores Take Roadie from Rival (5/12/04)

Sweep Worth Lack of Sleep (5/5/04)

Goose Egg in Gainesville (4/28/04)

Hogs Go Wild, but Commodores' Goals Still Within Reach (4/20/04)

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)