Three weeks ago the Oakland Athletics used their first round pick in the 2011 MLB Draft to select Vanderbilt RHP Sonny Gray. The A's have done a great job developing young pitchers and hope Gray follows in that tradition of fantastic starting pitching. Gray has yet to sign with the A's but that is due in large part to the fact that his college season is not complete. Gray's Vanderbilt Commodores are taking part in the 2011 College World Series as one of the final eight teams in the field at Omaha.
The tournament started on Saturday with Vanderbilt facing the North Carolina Tar Heels in the morning game. Unfortunately for Gray (and I'd imagine a little bit for A's fans), he struggled in his opening start against UNC. Gray lasted 4 2/3 innings and gave up three runs on eight hits and five walks. He wasn't getting shelled but he struggled mightily with his control.
He did flash some of the athleticism that intrigued the A's. In the fourth inning, UNC put on its first two batters when Seth Baldwin then attempted to lay down a bunt. Gray pounced on the bunt and wheeled and threw out Ben Bunting at third. It's a play we see in the big leagues and it's impressive to see a college pitcher field his position with such confidence.
Gray left the game trailing 3-2 but Vanderbilt has since taken a 5-3 lead thanks to a three-run sixth inning. The winner of this game advances to face the winner for Florida-Texas, while the loser in each game will face off as well. Those two games will take place on Monday. Make sure and follow our 2011 College World Series StoryStream over the coming days for CWS results.