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Series Preview: vs. The Jamal Mashburn Wedding Jerseys – Anchor Of Gold

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As Dan Fouts would say, “This one’s for all the marbles.” Or, you know, at least most of Vanderbilt’s remaining postseason marbles. If you read this week’s Answers to the Mail Bag (and if you didn’t, go ahead and click that link; you can come back after; we’ll wait), you already know how important this series against the Wedding Jerseys in Lexington is. In short:

While the announcers seem to think we only need to win one more conference game, I’m not so sure. I’ve had my magic number at 3 more SEC wins since the beginning of the month. We’ve only managed to get 1 against Ugga and The Chuggers, so I’d say two more wins. That said, I think we could go 1-2 against The Mashburn Wedding Jerseys, and, provided we also win at least one in Hoover, I’d say we’re in (though I would still be nervous on Selection Sunday). If we were to be swept in Lexington (boo this idea, boo!), we would pretty much have to win the whole damned SEC Tourney to secure a bid. Let’s put all our focus on just this series, get 2 wins, and then exhale.

Now we’re in the Waiting to Exhale part; hoping on this Girls Trip to Lexington, there are no Disappearing Act(s); Corbs, the boys, and Stella get their respective Groove(s) Back; and we head to Hoover Getting Back to Happy. Yes, the theme of this series is Terry McMillan novels. I will be taking no questions at this time.

Baseball.

‘24 Record: 37-11 (20-7 SEC). Not really worth unpacking their many wins and impressive SEC record. I will simply say that like us against The Chuggers last weekend, The Jorts could have swept The Wedding Jerseys. After Jortsville squandered a late 6 run lead and lost 12-11 in the 10th inning of game one, the Jorts hammered the Wedding Jerseys in game two 10-1, before finally losing the series 7-5, yet again in extras, on Sunday. There’s a lesson here, and it’s not to take your foot off the gas, as Kentucky’s offense doesn’t stop coming for you unless you beat them into submission. Of course, we do have better starting pitching that Jortsville, at least. Either way, we are going to have to claw our way to wins this weekend. Hope you kittens packed your claws. *No, that is not yet another title of a Terry McMillan novel, but if she’s reading this, go ahead and take it for your next one.

Another reason for hope is The Wedding Jerseys were red hot early in SEC play, but have simmered down to 6-6 in their last four series. Of course, they did take 2 of 3 from Arky within those games, so keep a leash on that Emily Dickinson Velociraptor.

Player to Watch: Honestly, it’s difficult to narrow it down to just one. If I have to (and I do, as I make the rules here), I’ll take leadoff hitter #11 Jr. LF Ryan “He Who Smelts The Iron Ore from the Forest” Waldschmidt (.354/.488/.609 with 14 2B 0 3B 9 HR, 34 RBI, and 20-27 stolen bases), as the best thing you can do against The Wedding Jerseys is keep them from getting runners on early. You can make convincing arguments for slugger Ryan Nicholson (16 HR), speedster Émilien Pitre (21 steals), or their best contact hitter, Nick Lopez (.372 avg), too.

Anchor of Gold Tiger Beat Hottest Pitcher: #49 Grad RHP Johnny “The Little Goat Herder“ Hummel (3-0; 3.33 ERA; 12.58 K/9; 6 SV). The Wedding Jerseys do not really have one dominant pitcher. They’re more a team that beats you with their bats, and relies on their arms to just keep them in the game. That their team ERA (4.85) is near ours (4.82) is more a reflection of the disappointing year we’ve had from a pithing standpoint than Kentucky having a tough staff. That said, I picked The Little Goat Herder because I legitimately do not want to see him this weekend, as it likely means The Wedding Jerseys are in a save situation. Also, those Bavarian miniatures freak me the hell out.

Thursday @ 5:30pm CT on SECN+

Vanderbilt #97 Jr. RHP Bryce “Big Richie” Cunningham (6-3; 4.33 ERA; 11.08 K/9)

vs. Wedding Jerseys #51 Grad RHP Trey “Three Poos” Pooser (3-1; 4.10 ERA; 8.65 K/9)

See you in the comments.

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