March 10, 2007
NASHVILLE -- Sophomore righthander Nick Christiani threw 7.1 innings of shutout baseball and Vanderbilt (17-0) withstood a late challenge by Illinois-Chicago to win 1-0 Saturday afternoon at Hawkins Field.
Christiani (4-0) allowed six hits over 7.1 innings of work with eight strikeouts and a walk to pick up the win.
Illinois-Chicago starter Steve Crnkovich held the Commodores hitless until the fifth when Andrew Giobbi singled to left with one out in the inning. He later scored on a RBI double by Alex Feinberg to give VU a 1-0 lead.
The Flames threatened in the eighth as David Cales and Erik Whinery had back-to-back singles with one out in the frame. Stephen Shao then came on in relief off Christiani and got Chad Schroeder to hit into a fielder's choice out and then retired Nick Rainwater on a fly ball to right to preserve the shutout and lead.
UIC had one final chance to tie the game as Larry Gempp Jr. doubled down the rightfield line to lead off the ninth. Casey Weathers then came on in relief, struck out the next two batters, and got Jake Carr to ground out to short to end the game. He picked up his second save of the year and now has 18 strikeouts in 10.2 innings pitched.
Crnkovich (1-2) was the tough luck loser as he went the distance for the Flames, allowing just the three hits and a run while striking out six.
"I thought Nick (Christiani) was really good today," said Vanderbilt head coach Tim Corbin. "I thought after he got out of the second inning he threw really well. He made an adjustment during the game. He needed to keep the ball down as he got away with a few pitches up in the zone. When we really needed him in the middle innings he was tough and buckled down and stopped them from scoring."
The Commodores and Flames will close out the three game series Sunday afternoon at 1 p.m. CT. Sophomore Brett Jacobson (3-0, 2.57 ERA) will take the mound for VU, while UIC's starter is yet to be determined.
Illinois-Chicago 000 000 000 - 0 7 1
Vanderbilt 000 010 00x - 1 3 2
Crnkovich and Whinery. Christiani, S. Shao (8), Weathers (9) and Robin. W- Christiani 4-0, L- Crnkovich 1-2. Sv- Weathers (2). HRs: None