May 14, 2010
STARKVILLE, Miss.--- Down 5-1 in the second, Vanderbilt exploded for 12 runs on 15 hits to cruise past Mississippi State 13-8 Friday night at Dudy Noble Field.
The Commodores won their fourth straight game to move to 37-13 overall and 13-10 in Southeastern Conference play, while the Bulldogs dropped to 21-29 and 5-20 in league action.
VU pounded out 19 hits in the contest, a new season high in league play. Connor Harrell came out of a slump that saw his batting average below the .300 mark for the first time this season after Tuesday night's game and went 4-for-5 with four RBI and two runs scored. Anthony Gomez went 4-for-6 and Jason Esposito, Aaron Westlake and Andrew Giobbi each added two hits in the winning effort.
Ryan Collins two-out RBI single in the bottom of the first gave Mississippi State an early 1-0 lead. The Bulldogs loaded the bases with one out before VU starter Sonny Gray struck out Jaron Sheperd. Collins then hit the first pitch from Gray through the right side to plate a run. MSU tried to score another on the hit but Connor Powers was nailed at the plate on a throw by right fielder Joe Loftus.
The Bulldogs put up four runs in the second to take a 5-1 lead. Jonathan Ogden had a RBI single and Luke Adkins added a two-run double to lead the way in the frame.
VU came right back in the third with four runs of its own to tie the game back up at 5-5. Aaron Westlake had a RBI single and Curt Casali crushed a three-run homer to left-center to tie it up. It was Casali's seventh homer of the year and the fourth in the last nine games.
"I thought Casali's hit was big for us at the time," said Vanderbilt head coach Tim Corbin. "We took a very good punch in the bottom of the second and were able to come back and get in the ballgame."
Connor Harrell's three-run double in the fifth gave the Commodores their first lead of the game at 8-5. Curt Casali walked, Andrew Giobbi singled and Joe Loftus walked to load the bases before Harrell cleared them with a double down the left field line.
Gray was injured in the sixth when Jaron Sheperd hit a slow roller toward first base. The ball rolled foul and as Gray went to retrieve it he collided with Sheperd half way between home and first. That collision ended the night for Gray who was replaced by southpaw Richie Goodenow.
Aaron Westlake's two-run homer in the sixth extended the lead to 10-5. It was his eighth homer of the year and marked the fifth straight weekend the Commodores have scored 10 or more runs on a Friday night.
The game was delayed for 19 minutes in the top of the eighth because the lights went out in the stadium.
State was held hitless from the third through eighth innings before Wes Thigpen's solo homer to lead off the ninth. A fielding error by Jason Esposito kept the inning alive for the Bulldogs and Connor Powers took advantage blasting a two-run homer to left-center to make the final score 13-8.
Gray moved to 7-4 on the year and after a rough first two innings, he retired 10 in a row before departing in the sixth. He allowed five runs on seven hits with five strikeouts and a walk in five innings of work.
Goodenow, on the day he would have walked at graduation in Nashville, pitched three innings of no-hit relief with five strikeouts and a walk.
Graveman (2-4) allowed five runs on five hits with three walks in three innings of relief in the losing effort.
The teams will play the second game of the series tomorrow at 2 p.m. CT. Junior right-hander Taylor Hill (5-3, 3.22 ERA) will start for the Commodores, while the Bulldogs will counter with freshman right-hander Chris Stratton (4-3, 5.97 ERA)