March 24, 2012
Nashville, Tenn. - Vanderbilt rallied for three runs in the ninth inning to come from behind and beat No. 17 Georgia 5-4 Saturday at Hawkins Field.
The Commodores' (8-15, 1-4) ninth inning started with the Bulldogs (17-7, 3-2) leading 4-2 after a Colby May home run in the top of the inning. Vanderbilt, however, bounced back in the bottom of the ninth getting leadoff man Jack Lupo aboard on a Georgia error. With one out, pinch hitter Drew Fann and Tony Kemp drew back-to-back walks to load the bases. Spencer Navin's sacrifice fly closed the gap to a single run but served as the second out of the inning. A walk to Anthony Gomez loaded the bases again before Georgia closer Blake Dieterich's fourth walk of the frame, this one to Mike Yastrzemski, forced in a run to tie the game. After a pitching change to freshman Jay Swinford, Conrad Gregor played the hero for the Commodores singling off a diving Levi Hyams in short right field. Gregor was immediately mobbed by his teammates at first base celebrating the Dores' first Southeastern Conference win of the season.
Vanderbilt's pitching kept the team in the game all day despite giving up a season-high 17 hits to the Bulldogs. Starter Tyler Beede turned in five solid innings, allowing one run on eights hits with a career-best eight strikeouts. The freshman pitched into and out of trouble in all five innings wracking up six strikeouts in the first three innings. Sophomore T.J. Pecoraro made his season debut almost 10 months after undergoing ligament replacement (Tommy John) surgery last summer. The right-hander pitched 1.2 scoreless innings allowing one hit and striking out two, including the first batter he faced. Will Clinard (2-1) picked up the win despite giving up May's home run in the ninth. Dieterich (3-1) took the loss giving up three unearned runs in the ninth.
Georgia scored first scratching out a run in the second inning on two singles with Peter Verdin's knocking in a run. The Dores tied the score in the fourth on Gregor's first RBI-single of the day. The Bulldogs took a late lead with two runs in the seventh on Conor Welton's two-run single and tacked on another with May's ninth inning homer. Georgia stranded 14 runners on base leaving at least one runner aboard in all nine innings. Curt Powell and Brandon Stephens each had three hits for the Dawgs in the loss. Gregor led VU with three hits and two RBI while Andrew Harris added a pair of hits. Kemp scored twice and Gomez's eighth inning sacrifice fly gave him a team-best 22 RBI on the season.
The win marked the program's 2000th victory, putting Vanderbilt in company with six other current SEC schools. The victory also snapped a season-long five-game slide and gave the Dores their first win in one-run games this season. The game started two hours late due to a rain delay, the second in as many days of the series.
The rubber match between the Dores and Dawgs is scheduled for 1 p.m. tomorrow at Hawkins Field.