Baseball rallies late to defeat Mississippi State
May 15, 2010
STARKVILLE, Miss.--- For the second time in three games Vanderbilt trailed by two runs in the top of the ninth and rallied to tie the game and win it in extra innings, this time by a 13-7 score in 10 innings Saturday afternoon at Dudy Noble Field.
VU trailed 8-6 against No. 8 Louisville on Tuesday and rallied to tie the game and then won it in 17 innings by a 11-10 margin.
The Commodores clinched the season series for the third straight time over the Bulldogs and have now won nine straight over MSU dating back to 2007.
VU improved to 38-13 overall and 14-10 in Southeastern Conference play, while Mississippi State fell to 21-30 and 5-21 in league action.
Another Commodore win or a loss by Alabama will clinch a spot in the SEC tournament in two weeks in Hoover. VU trails Arkansas, Ole Miss and Auburn for the third best league record as each are tied for the West lead with a 16-10 mark. South Carolina and Florida are tied with the best record in the conference at 19-7.
The Commodores trailed 5-3 in the bottom of the ninth with freshman right-hander Chris Stratton trying to go the distance for the Bulldogs. Brian Harris walked and MSU went to the bullpen and right-hander Devin Jones. He got Gomez to hit a chopper to short that was fielded and thrown to second to get Harris in a close play. Jason Esposito singled up the middle and MSU went back to the bullpen bringing in closer Ben Bracewell. He hit Aaron Westlake to load the bases and got Curt Casali to fly out to shallow right for the second out. Bracewell then uncorked a wild pitch that scored Gomez from third and walked Andrew Giobbi to load the bases again. Bracewell got ahead of Joe Loftus with a 1-2 count before hitting him in the back to bring in Esposito with the tying run.
The Bulldogs had a runner at second with two outs in the ninth and Jaron Shepherd hit a sinking liner to left that Mike Yastrzemski dove and caught to end the inning.
VU then exploded for eight runs in the top of the tenth, again scoring all of them with two outs. Curt Casali walked with the bases loaded to bring the go-ahead run in and Andrew Giobbi added a two-run single, Joe Loftus a RBI single and Yastrzemski a three-run double to give the Commodores a comfortable eight run lead at 13-5.
Jonathan Ogden's two-run homer in the tenth closed out the scoring in the game as Will Clinard came in and finished up on the mound to clinch the series for the Dores.
"I just think [it's] confidence," said Vanderbilt head coach Tim Corbin when asked about the team's late rallies of late. "I think if you do it once, it gets into the DNA of the team. I think that's really where we are. I think the kids feel like they can come back, and we've done it several times this year. We didn't have walk-off opportunities last year at any time, and we've had three or four of them this year, I think. Just to come back in someone else's ballpark is difficult, and that was huge."
Esposito led Vanderbilt with a 5-for-5 day, while Giobbi had two hits and four RBI and Loftus two hits and two RBI to help lead the 15 hit attack.
Russell Brewer (2-2) picked up the win in relief allowing two runs on two hits in 1.1 innings with a strikeout and a walk.
Three consecutive two-out singles, capped off by Russ Sneed's RBI base hit to left, gave the Bulldogs a 1-0 lead in the first.
MSU added two more runs in the fourth to take a 3-0 lead. Ryan Duffy led off with a solo homer to left-center and Jet Butler added a RBI double in the frame.
VU got on the board in the fifth on a RBI single by Jason Esposito. Drew Fann led off with a single to left and moved to second on a wild pitch. Brian Harris walked and Anthony Gomez sacrificed the runners over before Esposito's hit through the left side scored Fann. The inning was short circuited, however, when Esposito was thrown out at second trying to steal for the second out and Aaron Westlake grounded out to second to end the inning.
The Bulldogs scored two more in the bottom of the fifth on a two-out RBI double by Jaron Shepherd. Taylor Hill recorded the first two outs of the inning before hitting Ryan Duffy and walking Russ Sneed to end his day on the mound. Garvin came on to face Shepherd who hit a grounder towards first that took a funny hop to the right of Westlake and rolled down the right field line.
Hill allowed five runs on seven hits in 4.2 innings with three strikeouts and a walk.
The Commodores cut the lead in half in the sixth courtesy of Andrew Giobbi's two-run homer to left. It was his fifth of the year and first in SEC play.
Seven Bulldog seniors were honored prior to the game in Senior Day festivities.
The teams will play the final game of the series tomorrow at 1:30 p.m. CT. Sophomore right-hander Jack Armstrong (6-1, 3.64 ERA) will start for the Commodores, while the Bulldogs starter is to be determined.