Area College Notes: VU’s Gray makes pitch for second Nationals spot

Wednesday, February 10, 2010 at 11:29pm
Staff Reports

Vanderbilt’s Sonny Gray will have the opportunity to earn a place with the USA Collegiate National Team for the second year in a row.

The sophomore right-hander was invited to the tryouts beginning July 6 at the National Training Complex in Cary, N.C.

Gray went 3-1 with a 0.75 ERA in eight appearances (two starts) last summer for a squad that went 19-5 and won the inaugural World Baseball Challenge. Following the season he was named the third-best pro prospect on the squad by Baseball America. Late last week that publication also named him a 2010 second-team preseason All-American.

Vanderbilt has been represented on the USA Collegiate National Team every year since 2005. Pitchers David Price (2005-06) and Mike Minor (2007-08) and third baseman Pedro Alvarez (2006-07) each made the team twice.

“Sonny had a great summer on the 2009 USA Baseball Collegiate National Team and added to the list of great Vanderbilt players who have worn their nation’s uniform,” National Collegiate Team general manager Eric Campbell said. “…I think the team leadership could potentially come from the pitching staff in 2010 with Sonny Gray filling a key if not definitive leadership role on the team.”

Gray is expected to be the Friday starter for the Commodores, who open the 2010 season Feb. 19 at home against Niagra.

Clark on the mark

Belmont’s Ian Clark became the second freshman in Division I basketball to make nine 3-pointers in a game when he went 9-for-11 from beyond the arc and tied his career-high with 31 points in a victory Sunday over North Florida.

The Memphis product has made 61 3-pointers for the season, third most among freshmen nationally at the start of the week.

“I said before the season I thought we had the potential to improve as much as any team in the country because of the number of young players we have on our team,” coach Rick Byrd said. “I think Ian Clark is an example of that. I don’t know if he could have had that kind of game early in the season.”

Clark averaged 23.5 points, 3.5 rebounds and 2.5 steals in a pair of Bruins’ victories last week and was named Atlantic Sun Freshman of the Week on Monday.

Runners’ and throwers’ world

MTSU’s Brittany Cox was named the Sun Belt Conference female track and field Athlete of the Week for the third consecutive week.

The senior out of Glencliff High School set school and conference records for the second consecutive week in both the 20-pound weight throw (67-6) and the shot put (53-5 ½).

• Lipscomb’s Ryan Chastain was named the Atlantic Sun track and field athlete of the week after he won both the 800 and the mile at the Tennessee State Invitational. His time in each event (1:55.49 in the 800; 4:19.11 in the mile) was a personal best.


• Vanderbilt’s swim team was named an Academic All-American team by the College Swimming Coaches Association of America. The team has won two of the university’s last three Highest Team GPA awards.

• Lipscomb senior Kellie Sirus has been named one of 30 candidates for the Lowe’s Senior Class Award in softball. She is the first member of the softball team to be nominated for the award, which honors achievement in four areas – classroom, character, community and competition.