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Monday, April 25, 2011

The Weekend Run-down: Nashville Edition

This was an exciting weekend to be a sports fan in Nashville. The Predators made team history by finally winning a playoff series. Former AL Cy Young winner Zack Greinke made an appearance for the Nashville Sounds, and Nashville superspeed way held the annual Nashville 300 nationwide and truck series events. Nashville native and Vandy alum Brandt Snedeker snuck up the leader board and stole a victory at the Heritage classic in Hilton Head, SC. The Vanderbilt Commodores baseball team even got in on the action as they completed a sweep of LSU over the weekend.

This has to be considered one of the best weekends’s the Nashville’s sports scene so far this year with so many different events in the local area. Now it time for the rundown the weekend in sports, Nashville edition.

The Predators Make History As They Cap Series With Game 6 Victory Over Anaheim: It had to happen one day. After countless heartbreak chasing Lord Stanley’s cup, the Nashville Predators are finally headed to the 2nd round of the NHL playoffs. They didn’t make it easy on themselves in the closer as they fell behind early as Saiku Koivu fond Teemu Selanne for his sixth goal of the series and Koivu’s sixth assist. The Preds would counter back with a Nick Spaling goal to tie things up in the first period. The two teams battled hard as the numerous penalties and rough play indicated. Steve “Sully” Sullivan would add another goal for Nashville in the second. Its always a good site to see Sully healthy and playing well. Vezina trophy finalist Pekka Rinne warmed up in the second and showed off his skills on countless saves in the period but allowed a Jason Blake goal to slip by in the period. Nashville would ultimately put the Ducks away with two goals in the third period. Nick Spaling would add his second and David Legwand would provide an insurance goal at the end.

It was such a great moment for “Hockeytonk”. The Preds have been to the playoffs six out of the last seven years and ousted in the first round each time. This game had an eerie feeling of the last game 5 the Preds were involved in with the Chicago Blackhawks of last year. The Predators had built a one goal lead well into the third period only to see Marian Hossa of the Blackhawks tie the game and the Preds would lose in overtime. The lost of game 5 hung over the Preds and they eventually lost the series in game 6. The Preds had to sit with that stinging lost to the eventual Stanley Cup champions all year. They would not be denied this time however. “I’m happy because I think of the resiliency of the group that worked so hard all year, and I’m relieved because there is a little bit of a cloud that we wanted to get to the next level,” said Barry Trotz. The Preds go on to face its arch nemesis the Detroit Red Wings in the Western Conference Semi-Finals. Let’s keep it going Preds and keep the support up Smahville, your team needs you.

Carl Edwards Wins The Nashville 300 For The Fifth Time: The ceremonial back-flip Carl Edwards does after each victory is becoming a pre-requisite at the Nashville Superspeedway. Edwards dominated the field as he led 148 of 225 of the total laps. Edwards was only challenged by Kyle Busch, who won the Bully Hill Vineyards 200 Camping World Truck Series race Friday night. This is Edwards 31st victory in Nationwide series events. Edwards plans to auction the trophy guitar on eBay with the proceeds going to the family of Roush-Fenway Racing employee Jonathan Bunting, who died earlier this week in North Carolina. The way Edwards continues to dominate the Nashville Superspeedway and collect  guitar trophies; he is going to have look into starting a band. We’ll need a drummer,” Edwards said.

Zack Grienke Roughed Up In Rehab Start For Nashville Sounds: In a bizarre moment of pitching match-ups, the former AL Cy Young winner Greinke faced former Brewer and fellow major league starter Jeff Suppan now of the Omaha Storm Chasers. Greinke had a strong first inning performance but struggled from there. It was Suppan who stole the show as he retired 16 of the last 18 batters he faced. In the first inning, Greinke was able to induce four straight groundouts to begin the game and had has fastball hitting 94 mph on the radar gun. Ball acceleration was not the problem for Greinke, it was his control. He allowed three hits,walked one batter, and gave up two runs before reaching his mandated 54 pitches on his pitch count. Tim Dillard would relieve Greinke and the Sounds would go on to lose 7-3. "Maybe the velocity was still there, but the control wasn't that sharp," said Greinke. He also recoginzed that he needs another start before heading back to the majors, and will get another chance for the Sounds this Friday when they take on Albuquerque. Another Major leaguer graced the Sounds roster as Bowling Green, Kentucky native Corey Hart got the start in the outfield. He continues his own rehabilitation assignment as well. It was a great day to see Major league talent at Greer Stadium.

Vandy Brings Out Its broom And Sweeps LSU: The Vanderbilt Commodores had a season high 20 hits as they claimed the top spot in the SEC conference at Hawkins field this Saturday. The Dores’ charged the Tigers for six runs in the bottom of the third. The Dores matched a season-best with six hits during the rally with Conrad Gregor's two-run homer leading the way. LSU would score four runs in the seventh inning to get within two runs but Vandy’s vaunted bullpen would secure the victory from there. Vanderbilt (35-5 and 14-4 in SEC) now sits atop the SEC rankings with Florida’s sweep of Alabama and South Carolina's 2-1 series victory over Mississippi State puts the three teams in a three-way tie in the SEC standings at 14-4.

Brandt Snedeker Wins The Heritage Golf Tournament: Nashville native and former Vandy great Brandt Snedeker posted an out of this world 7-under 64 to earn his second tour victory. It was Snedeker’s first victory since winning the 2007 Wyndham Championship in Greensboro, N.C., in his first year on the tour. Snedeker birdied seven of his first twelve holes to take the lead just as the final pair of Luke Donald and defending champion Jim Furyk were up to tee off. Snedeker would then close the final round with a 12-foot birdie putt on the at No. 18th hole. Snedeker’s victory prevented Luke Donald from claiming the number one ranking in the world and also put a cool $1,026,000 in his pocket. "To win this time, after all the hard work I put in the last three or four years, trying to improve, trying to get better," said Snedeker, "I feel like my game is finally there. Congrats on your victory Brandt, from all of your fans in Nashville.

It was a great weekend to say the least for Nashville sports. I hope everyone got a chance to take in the nice weather and witness one of the many events held in the local area because it will be awhile before this weekend will be topped.

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