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 16, 2004
Rough Outing Eased by Series
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
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
The trip home is definitely easier with a series
Sweep of the Bearcats (3/9/04)
(photo courtesy of Vanderbilt Media Relations Office)