Behind a very strong pitching staff, The VandyBoys (otherwise known as the Vanderbilt baseball team) have recorded a strong start to their 2014 season with a 15-2 record so far (as of March 9) and a Number 3 national ranking (USA TODAY). The defending Southeastern Conference champions have swept all four of their weekend series (against Long Beach State, Stanford, University of Illinois-Chicago and Wofford).
In fact, the Vanderbilt weekend pitchers (usually the aces on any college staff) have allowed just two runs or less in all 12 of their Friday-Sunday games.
But as strong as those pitching performances have been, they still aren't quite a good as a stretch of games for a Commodore staff back when we were on campus in the spring of 1971. Take a look at this recent History Corner article by Bill Traughber posted on the vucommodores.com web site. It's nothing short of amazing .....
Building a nationally recognized baseball program under the leadership of the legendary Coach Larry "Smokey" Schmittou, the 1971 Commodores squad was building towards the school's first SEC baseball championship our senior year in 1973, followed by our second conference flag in 1974.
What's perhaps ironic about the "no-hit" accomplishments of the 1971 squad was that the team's best pitcher of that era, Jeff Peeples (who still owns several school records 40 years after he threw his last pitch for the Black & Gold), was not one of the hurlers who pitched a perfecto while in school.
As for this year's Commodore team, the biggest test so far comes this weekend (March 14-16) as the nationally-ranked (8th) LSU Tigers come to Hawkins Field to begin the SEC portion of the regular season. The VandyBoys swept the Tigers in Baton Rouge last season on the way to setting a SEC-record for wins. You can be sure the Boys from the Bayou will be looking for some revenge. Vandy will look to continue a tradition of excellence that current Coach Tim Corbin continues to nuture, Go Dores!