Commodores claim series in Starkville for the first time since 1986
April 12, 2008
David Macias receives the congratulations of his teammates after making his second spectacular catch of the game. The first robbed MSU of a sure double, and the second ended the inning and saves a sure MSU run. (Photo by David Allen Williams)
STARKVILLE, Miss. -- Redshirt freshman Caleb Cotham threw seven innings of five-hit shutout baseball and the Vanderbilt offense continued its hot-hitting ways with 15 hits in a 16-0 win over Mississippi State Saturday afternoon at Dudy Noble Field.
The win moved the Commodores to 23-10 overall and 7-6 in Southeastern Conference play, while the Bulldogs fell to 14-20 and 3-11 in league action.
"It's always good to take a series on the road in the Southeastern Conference," said Vanderbilt head coach Tim Corbin. "I thought Caleb did a good job on the mound and the offense continued to apply pressure and put up big innings throughout the game."
The win gave VU its first series win in Starkville since 1986 and just its third ever including a three-game sweep in 1914. The win was the biggest margin of victory since a 20-0 victory in Nashville in 1923. The shutout was just the third for the Commodores in the series including a 4-0 win in Nashville in 2002.
Cotham (4-2) gave up just five hits while striking out seven with four walks. Taylor Hill and Brett Jacobson pitched a one-hit eighth and ninth innings to preserve the shutout, the first for VU on the season.
"It was kind of tough, but it definitely a position you want to be in," said Cotham when asked about the extended breaks he had in between innings as the Commodores offense went to work. "Today some things clicked for me early on and gave me a lot of confidence. I can start building on that and hopefully it can carry on."
Ryan Flaherty lined a three-run homer to left-center to give the Commodores a 4-0 lead in the third. It was his eighth homer of the season, doubling his career high of four set a year ago. David Macias and Pedro Alvarez had singles before Flaherty's blast off of MSU starter Ricky Bowen.
The Dores added four more runs in the fifth and two more in the sixth to build a 10-0 lead. De la Osa was hit by a pitch with the bases loaded for a RBI and the first run in the fifth. Steven Liddle added a sacrifice fly to left and then the Commodores scored two runs on double steals when MSU catcher threw the ball into left when trying to pick off the runners at second.
Flaherty had a RBI single and de la Osa a RBI groundout in the sixth. VU plated six runs in the seventh, taking advantage of two Mississippi State errors and four hits in the stanza. Andrew Giobbi had a pinch hit RBI single for the first run with Brian Harris adding a RBI groundout for the second score. Alvarez brought in a run with a RBI single and Flaherty scored two with a single through the right side. De la Osa capped things off with a sacrifice fly RBI for his third run batted in of the game.
Vanderbilt and Mississippi State will play the final game of the three-game set tomorrow afternoon at 1:30 p.m. The Commodores will send junior right-hander Nick Christiani (3-1, 3.78 ERA), while the Bulldogs will counter with senior right-hander John Lalor (1-2, 3.63 ERA).