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
May 17, 2004
Going a Little Extra in the
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
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
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.
Take Roadie from Rival (5/12/04)
Lack of Sleep (5/5/04)
in Gainesville (4/28/04)
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)