Minor tosses gem for
Vanderbilt against LSU
By Jimmy Jones
Special to CollegeBaseballInsider.com
Ala. - It was not as if Vanderbilt's ace Mike Minor (right) had
anything to prove to Major League scouts when he took the mound
against Number 1-seed LSU in the opening round of the SEC
Tournament Wednesday night. It just may have been the best nine
innings of his career.
Minor, the ace of the U.S. National Team last summer that went
24-0, proved once again that he is a prime-time pitcher when he
held the vaunted Tiger offense to just six hits and one paltry
earned run in a dominant complete-game effort to vault the
eighth-seeded Commodores (32-24) into the winner's bracket on
Thursday. It was his second complete game in his last three
"Early in the game, I wasn't really pitching, I was just
throwing the ball," Minor said. "I got lucky with my defense
backing me up and turning double plays. Later in the ballgame, I
started feeling my stuff, and started throwing more off-speed,
more curveballs and sliders. And then in the eighth and ninth
inning, I clicked in and I felt like I was just starting the
game - and it worked for us."
Andrew Giobbi (left) jump-started the Dores with a drive over
the left field fence in the fourth inning to put his young team
up 1-0. It would be a lead that they would not relinquish as
they would added another run in the fifth on a walk to All-SEC
shortstop Brian Harris that was followed by a double off of the
left field wall by Jonathan White that just missed going out.
The Tigers (45-16) elected to intentionally walk Steven Liddle
to load the bases. Curt Casali just missed a grand slam that was
caught at the base of the wall in the deepest part of the park
off of Austin Ross to plate Harris to make the score 2-0.
White struck again in the seventh when he led off the seventh
with a line drive right back where it came from for a single.
Liddle made it two hits in a row for VU to place runners at
first and third.
Casali crushed a two-bagger to left to score White, followed by
a sacrifice fly by the SEC-leading hitter Aaron Westlake to
score Liddle to advance the score to 4-0.
LSU managed a run in the bottom of the seventh on a double by
Tyler Hanover and an RBI groundout by Austin Nola to account for
the final tally.
Ross (left) was the tough-luck loser in the game. He threw six
innings and allowed four earned runs while striking out four.
Minor struck out five and walked three to move his record to 6-4
on the season. With his five strikeouts he became only the fifth
pitcher in the SEC this season to strike out more than 100
hitters (104). The feat moves him into fourth place among the
all-time leaders in school history. The win ties him for seventh
all-time with David Price and Rick Rhodes.
Vanderbilt will face the winner of the No. 4 seed Alabama/ No. 5
seed South Carolina contest Thursday night at 8:30 p.m.
(photos by Jimmy Jones)