May 13, 2009
The Tennessee baseball team traveled from Murfreesboro, Tenn., to Nashville, Tenn., on Tuesday night, where it closes out the 2009 regular season with a three-game Southeastern Conference series against the Vanderbilt Commodores Thursday through Sunday at Hawkins Field.
Game times are set for 6 p.m. Central time Thursday and Friday followed by 1 p.m. on Saturday. Saturday's series finale will be televised regionally on CSS.
Tennessee leads the all-time series with Vanderbilt 162-139-2 dating back to 1897. The Commodores have won eight of the last 10 meetings between the teams including a three-game sweep of the Vols in Knoxville last season.
Tennessee (23-29, 8-19 SEC) is coming off a 5-4 victory over MTSU on Tuesday night. First baseman Cody Hawn's solo home run in the top of the 11th inning gave the Vols their first extra-inning victory of the season and completed the series sweep of the Blue Raiders. UT is batting .283 as a team with 92 doubles and 82 home runs.
Vanderbilt (31-21, 12-14) enters Thursday's game batting .311 as a team with 43 home runs and 82 stolen bases. The Commodores have a 4.83 staff ERA, which ranks sixth in the league. Designated hitter Aaron Westlake leads the team with a .395 average and 75 hits. First baseman Curt Casali is tops on the team with 50 RBIs.
This weekend's pitching matchups feature UT junior left-hander Nick Hernandez (2-5, 5.58 ERA) taking the mound Thursday against Vanderbilt right-hander Sonny Gray (4-1, 4.74). Commodore southpaw Mike Minor (5-4, 3.72) will take the hill on Friday with junior Drew Hayes (4-3, 5.72) getting the call on Saturday. Tennessee has not announced a starting pitcher for games two or three of the series.
Four current Vols own career batting averages of better than .250 against Vanderbilt (Jeff Lockwood, .259; Cody Brown, .270; Kentrail Davis, .300; and P.J. Polk, .667). Davis and Polk both had two home runs in the series last year against VU and combined for eight RBIs.
All three games are slated for radio broadcast in the Knoxville area on WNML FM 99.1 and 99.3. In addition, a free audio stream of the baseball play-by-play for all three games can be accessed online at UTsports.com.