Casali's walk-off homer defeats MTSU

March 26, 2008

Curt Casali rounds third base after hitting a two-run walk-off homer in the bottom of the 12th to lift Vanderbilt to a 12-10 win over MTSU. (Photo Courtesy of Mike Rapp)

Friday, March 28 vs. Arkansas at 6 p.m. CT
Saturday, March 29 vs. Arkansas at 3 p.m. CT
Sunday, March 30 vs. Arkansas at 1 p.m. CT

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NASHVILLE --- Freshman Curt Casali's two-out two-run homer in the 12th inning lifted Vanderbilt to a 12-10 win over Middle Tennessee Wednesday night at Hawkins Field.

Ryan Flaherty walked with two outs in the 12th and Curt Casali stretched MTSU's Chad Coley out to a 3-1 count before belting a two-run homer to left-center to end the game.

"I think it was a fastball low and in," said Casali of the pitch he hit. "I got a good piece of the bat on it. It was a good momentum booster to get this win going into the Arkansas series starting on Friday."

The Commodores improved to 16-6 overall while the Blue Raiders fell to 10-9-1 in the marathon five hour and six minute game.

The Commodores trailed 10-8 in the bottom of the eighth when Dominic de la Osa tied the game with a two-run homer to left-center. It was his fourth homer of the season, tying him with Flaherty and David Macias for the team lead.

The teams had scoring opportunities in the latter stages and in extra innings but could not convert until Casali's homer in the 12th.

The Blue Raiders best opportunity to regain the lead came in the 10th when Doug Birkofer was hit by a pitch and advanced to third on a single by Nathan Hines. Commodore reliever Russell Brewer got out of his own jam, striking out the next three batters to end the inning.

MTSU got on the board in the first inning on a sacrifice fly RBI by Rawley Bishop.

Vanderbilt put up three runs in the bottom of the first to take a 3-1 lead. Aaron Westlake and Alex Feinberg had RBI singles and Steven Liddle added a sacrifice fly RBI.

The Blue Raiders took advantage of two Vanderbilt errors to plate two unearned runs in the second to tie the game.

Middle Tennessee tallied five runs in the fifth to take an 8-3 lead. Bishop and Grant Box had RBI singles and Blake McDade added a two-run single to lead the charge.

VU cut into the lead with three runs in the bottom half to make it 8-6. Liddle had a RBI single, Westlake scored on a balk with the bases loaded and Jonathan White added a RBI groundout for the third run.

The Commodores scored another run on a balk in the sixth to cut the lead to one, but the Blue Raiders responded with two runs in the seventh to push it back up to 10-7.

Liddle doubled in the seventh, his third hit of the night, advanced to third on a passed ball and scored on a RBI groundout by Brad French to make it 10-8.

Taylor Hill pitched a scoreless 12th to pick up the win to move to 2-1 on the year, while Chad Coley took the loss to drop to 0-1.

Brian Harris had three hits to join Liddle as the night's leader, with David Macias and Aaron Westlake added two hits each.

Nathan Hines led the Blue Raiders with three hits in seven at-bats.

The Commodores will host Arkansas this weekend in a three-game SEC series at Hawkins Field. The Razorbacks are 15-9 and 2-4 in conference action after dropping two of three to LSU in Baton Rouge over the weekend. They split a midweek series against Centenary, winning 9-0 on Tuesday before losing 5-1 on Wednesday.

Middle Tennessee  120   050  200   00  -  10   14   0
Vanderbilt                 300   031  120   00  -  12   17   3

Whittaker, Doss (5), Alvis (5), Adamson (6), Stanley (8), Coley (10) and Box. Bierman, Schwartz (4), Christiani (5), Reid (7), Brewer (9), Hill (12) and Robin. W- Hill 2-1, L- Coley 0-1. Sv- None HR: VU: de la Osa (4), Casali (2)



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