Vanderbilt’s 2012 baseball season has been a lot of things at a lot of points this year, but one thing it has rarely been is uninteresting. The Commodores were ranked in the Top 10 at the season’s beginning, but fell so far under .500 at one point that it was considered almost impossible to get above that mark again given the schedule ahead.
But VU responded by not only doing that, but playing amazingly well during the last month of the season – so well that a seventh-straight NCAA Tournament appearance is now a sure thing. That’s been due in no small part to the team’s current eight-game winning streak.
With that in mind, here’s a look at VU’s schedule, season, and current winning streak by the numbers.
3: Vanderbilt’s national ranking in strength of schedule, according to WarrenNolan.com’s RPI measures
27: the number of games Vanderbilt has played against teams currently in the Top 25 of the Coaches’ Poll
17: how many of Vandy’s 25 losses that came in those games
14: games the Commodores have played against teams ranked in the top four of the latest College Baseball News poll
9: number of losses in those games
Notes on the numbers: The Commodores started the season by playing Stanford, Oregon, San Diego and Florida in 12 of their first 20 games. All four teams are currently ranked in the Top 20. Eleven of VU’s last 15 games have also been against ranked squads. Oregon, LSU, South Carolina and Florida comprise CBN’s current top four.
8: the number of games under .500 Vandy was on March 23, 22 games into the season.
7: the number of games VU is above .500 as of today, 57 games into the season
16: the number of wins the Commodores have compiled since April 22
10: how many of those wins that came against teams ranked in the Top 25 at the time
3: losses in that same span 53: the number of runs by which VU has out-scored its opponents by this season
Notes on the numbers: At different points of the season, VU’s record stood at 1-7 and 19-22. The season- opening trip to Stanford was particularly unpleasant: Vandy lost three games by a combined 35-13 margin. Things particularly didn’t look good for the ‘Dores through 39 games; games 37 and 38 were losses to lowly Alabama, and the schedule bringing a pair of Top 10 opponents (Kentucky and LSU) in two of the next three weekends.
8: the number of games VU has now won consecutively, and also, the number of ranked teams VU has played during that time.
35: runs Vandy has scored in those eight games
18: runs VU has given up during the streak 1: number of those 18 runs that were unearned
4: VU’s errors during that streak
2: Vandy’s home runs during the streak
0: opponent home runs during the streak
66: Vanderbilt’s hits during the streak
58: opponents’ hits during the streak
41: number of walks and hit batsmen by VU pitchers during the streak
31: number of walks and hit batsmen by opponents during the streak
Notes on the numbers: With a 17-run differential over the last eight games, a winning streak like this is possible. But the run differential itself is amazing, given that VU has actually allowed two more baserunners through hits, walks and hit batsmen that its offense has collected during that span. Three reasons for that: a spectacular defensive effort, some clutch pitching with men on base, and a huge dose of good fortune. The Commodores were certainly due some of the latter after not catching any breaks the first half of the season: VU lost its first seven games decided by two runs or less.