Minor to start VU's SEC tournament opener; four earn All-Conference honors

Tuesday, May 19, 2009 at 7:34am

Mike Minor will start Vanderbilt’s first-round SEC tournament game Wednesday against LSU, and he will have several all-conference performers behind him when he does.

Shortstop Brian Harris has been named first-team All-SEC, outfielder Steven Liddle has been named second-team all-conference, and designated hitter Aaron Westlake and second baseman Riley Reynolds were named to the SEC All-Freshman team, as determined by conference coaches.

Minor was selected as the Commodores’ starter late Monday night by coach Tim Corbin.

The junior from Chapel Hill is 2-0 in SEC tournament games with victories over Tennessee in 2007 and Florida in 2008. He combined to throw 12.2 innings in those games, struck out 11 and allowed just five runs.

He has averaged 131.5 pitches his last two outings, the most recent of which was last Friday.

LSU has named its No. 3 starter, Austin Ross its starter for Wednesday’s game (5 p.m.).

Freshman Sonny Gray will be VU’s starting pitcher on Thursday, and junior Drew Hayes is tentatively scheduled to pitch the third contest.

“I can’t think that far ahead just because right now we’re in a situation where it’s one foot in front of the other,” Corbin said. “We just want to take Step One and move from there.”

Harris, a first-year starter at shortstop, hit .320 with seven home runs and 39 RBIs. He was hit by a pitch a conference-leading 19 times.

He also tied with Liddle for second in the SEC with 19 doubles. Liddle hit .347 with 43 RBIs and a team-leading 19 home runs.

Westlake finished the regular season as the SEC’s leading hitter with a .382 average. He also had seven home runs and 48 RBIs.

Reynolds hit .340 and was second in the conference in sacrifice bunts with 10.