UPCOMING HOME GAMES AT HAWKINS FIELD Fri., April 25 vs. Kentucky at 6 p.m. CT Sat., April 26 vs. Kentucky at 2 p.m. CT Sun., April 27 vs. Kentucky at 1 p.m. CT
NASHVILLE ---Ryan Flaherty hit his ninth and tenth homers of the year to lead Vanderbilt to a 9-5 win over Auburn Sunday afternoon at Hawkins Field.
The Commodores improved to 28-11 overall and 10-7 in Southeastern Conference play, while the Tigers fell to 23-18 and 7-11 in league action.
The win was VU's ninth in ten games and moved them into third place overall and in the SEC East standings. Georgia at 14-3-1 and South Carolina at 11-8 are the two team's ahead of them in the conference standings.
"Today was one of those days, where I felt really good about our chances, but they (Auburn) never let up," said Vanderbilt head coach Tim Corbin. "As much as the score was 9-5, it felt like a 9-8 game."
Auburn scored a run in the first on a sacrifice fly RBI by Mike Bianucci to take a 1-0 lead.
Flaherty's first homer of the game came in the first, a two-run shot to left-center that scored Pedro Alvarez who reached ahead of him on a single.
The Tigers tallied a run on a sacrifice fly RBI by Trent Mummey in the fifth to cut the lead to 4-2.
Flaherty smacked his second homer of the game to right, another two-run shot to make it 6-2. It marked the first career multi-homer game.
"I spent a lot of time in the off-season working on hitting and that has really helped," said Flaherty who came into the season with six career homers. "I just try and continue to develop as a player and hitting the ball the other way has also helped as well as getting good counts to hit in."
Bianucci and Hunter Morris had back-to-back solo homers to lead off the sixth to cut the lead to 6-4 and knocked out VU starter Nick Christiani.
Christiani (4-1) gave up four runs on five hits in five innings with three strikeouts and two walks.
The Dores came through with three runs in the bottom of the sixth, two coming via a single by Alex Feinberg to extend the lead to 9-4.
Auburn kept applying the pressure, scoring a run on Bianucci's second homer of the game in the seventh to make it 8-5. The Tigers ended up loading the bases with two outs when VU went to Richie Goodenow out of the pen. He struck out Kevin Patterson looking to end the threat.
The Tigers mounted one last opportunity in the eighth, loading the bases with one out with the tying run at the plate in Mike Bianucci, who had already homered twice in the game. Russell Brewer came on in relief and struck out Bianucci and got freshman slugger Hunter Morris to pop out to second on the first pitch to end the inning.
"We were just fortunate to get two real good hitters with the bases loaded out," said Corbin.
Brewer pitched the final 1.2 innings, allowing just a hit with two strikeouts to pick up his fourth save of the year.
Flaherty ended up with two hits and four RBI, while de la Osa came through with three hits and two RBI and three stolen bases. Shea Robin, Steven Liddle and Pedro Alvarez also had two hits to help lead the 13-hit VU attack.
David Macias went 0-for-3 ending his 14-game hitting streak. The senior has had an 18 game and 14 game streak in the Commodores 39 games this season.
Bianucci led Auburn with three hits and three RBI, while starter Bradley Hendrix (1-1) was charged with his first loss off the year, giving up four runs on five hits in 2.1 innings with two strikeouts and a walk.
The Commodores will have a pair of road midweek games against Austin Peay and Belmont at 6 p.m. on Tuesday and Wednesday respectively. VU will then host SEC East foe Kentucky next weekend at Hawkins Field. Gametimes are 6 p.m. on Friday, 2 p.m. on Saturday and 1 p.m. on Sunday.