NASHVILLE--- Vanderbilt's offense pounded out 13 hits and used another quality start by Taylor Hill to cruise past Georgia 17-5 Friday night at Hawkins Field.
The Commodores snapped a three-game losing streak and scored more runs in tonight's game than they have in five of their first six Southeastern Conference series (Kentucky- 18 in three games). The 17 runs were also the most scored in a conference series opener since scoring 17 against Georgia in 1992.
"Runs have been hard to come by a little bit," said Vanderbilt head coach Tim Corbin. "I look at the lineup and just see guys that can hit and feel like it's going to happen sooner or later and it happened tonight."
VU improved to 33-12 overall and 10-9 in SEC play while the Bulldogs dropped to 13-30 and 3-16 in league action.
Curt Casali had a big day with a three-run homer and a two-run double to finish with five RBI in the win. Anthony Gomez was 4-for-5 with three runs scored while Brian Harris added two hits and five runs scored from the leadoff spot. Aaron Westlake also added two hits to help lead the 13 hit attack.
Taylor Hill (4-3) pitched eight solid innings, allowing five runs, four earned, on eight hits with four strikeouts and two walks. He recorded his first win since defeating Illinois State on March 6 when he moved to 3-0 on the season.
"I thought Taylor did a nice job, especially in a game where there were innings he had to sit down 20 or 25 minutes," added Corbin. "That is difficult to do and stay in some type of rhythm. He did a nice job, I was happy for him.
Will Clinard closed the game out allowing two hits in an inning of scoreless relief.
Casali's three-run homer in the first staked the Commodores to an early lead. Brian Harris walked to lead off the inning and advanced to third on groundouts by Anthony Gomez and Jason Esposito. Aaron Westlake walked before Casali crushed a 1-2 pitch from Michael Palazzone into the bleachers in left-center. It was Casali's second homer in the last three games and the fifth of the year.
"The past three games have not really been Vanderbilt baseball," said Casali. "We have had some unfortunate events happen, but this team is pretty good at wiping it off and coming back out ready to play."
Zach Cone hit a solo homer in the second to cut the lead to 3-1. It was his ninth homer of the year.
VU came right back with three runs in the bottom of the second to extend the lead to 6-1. All of the runs came with two-outs as Drew Fann started it off with a double down the left field line. Brian Harris singled him home and was followed with a single by Gomez and a walk to Jason Esposito to load the bases. Georgia went to the bullpen; bringing normal Sunday starter Jeff Walters in and he gave up a two-run single to Aaron Westlake to make it a five-run advantage.
Georgia added a run on a sacrifice fly by Cone in the fourth, but Vanderbilt responded with a six-run bottom half to put the game away. Andrew Giobbi had the big hit in the inning with a two-run single as the Dores took advantage of three Bulldog errors to push the lead to 12-2.
UGA added three runs in the fifth with Todd Hankins coming through with a RBI single to lead the way.
VU plated a run in the bottom of the fifth and added three more in the seventh courtesy of a RBI single by Gomez and a two-run double by Casali. They ended the scoring with a run in the eighth on pinch hitter Riley Reynolds' sacrifice fly to left.
The two teams will meet in the second game of the three-game series tomorrow at 6 p.m. Sophomore right-hander Sonny Gray (6-4, 2.22 ERA), back from serving a four-game NCAA mandated suspension, will take the hill for the Commodores, while the Bulldogs will counter with junior right-hander Justin Grimm (2-6, 6.00 ERA). The game will be televised regionally on CSS and can be seen on the Internet at www.espn3.com .