VU baseball team adapts to change during games in Japan

Tuesday, November 24, 2009 at 4:14pm
Staff reports

Vanderbilt’s baseball team encountered unexpected field conditions and used an unlikely lineup Tuesday when it played two games, the second and third, on its exhibition tour of Japan.

Andrew Giobbi hit home runs in each of the contests as the Commodores defeated Aoyama Gakuin and fell to Meiji University. The results evened their record at 1-1-1 (they tied 4-4 with Hosei University on Monday) with one game to play.

Tuesday’s matchups took place in Tokyo at Meiji, Japan’s 2009 Fall World Series champion.

“The initial reaction of the players was shock due to the field surface,” Giobbi said in an online journal entry at vucommodores.com. “The outfield was all (artificial) turf and the infield had zero `green' on it; it was all dirt. The fence lines are measured in meters, instead of feet in the United States.

“The entire setting is a culture change in itself.”

Giobbi’s solo home run in the second inning accounted for all of the scoring in VU’s 1-0 victory over Aoyama, a game in which all eight of the Commodores’ fielders played a different position than in Monday’s tour opener.

Starting pitcher Taylor Hill earned the win with six shutout innings.

“I think Vanderbilt baseball fans will see a different team this year,” Giobbi wrote. “… If this is any indication of our season, there should be lots of players coming off the bench and participating in each game for the situation at hand.”

Vanderbilt fell 3-2 to Meiji, which scored one run each in the third, fifth and eighth innings – all against different pitchers. Giobbi hit a two-run home run in the ninth, but the Commodores failed to get the tying run.

The final game of the trip is scheduled for 9 p.m. (CST) Tuesday at Waseda University.

“The Japan trip, thus far, has been a neat experience for all of us,” Giobbi wrote. “Seeing a different side of the world has been an eye-opening experience as well. Everything from the food, to the style of play, to the every day interactions has broadened our horizons to a certain extent.”