May 16, 2013
NASHVILLE -- No. 1 Vanderbilt held off a late rally en route to a 7-6 win over Alabama at Hawkins Field Thursday night to push the Commodores win streak to 14 games.
With the victory, Vanderbilt ran its record to 47-6 overall and 25-2 in the SEC. The 47 wins set a new school record for the most wins in a regular season, which was previously held by the 2007 squad. The Commodores' 25 SEC wins ties the SEC record for most SEC wins in a season set by South Carolina in 2000. Vanderbilt is 30-3 at the friendly confines of Hawkins Field this season.
The Commodores jumped out to a quick 2-0 lead over the Crimson Tide (31-23, 13-14) after a two-run home run by Connor Harrell in the first inning. The home run was Harrell's 11th of the season. An inning later, Kyle Smith delivered another two-run homer, making the score 4-0 in favor of the Commodores. Smith has hit home runs in consecutive games after missing nearly a month with an injury.
Vanderbilt tacked on another run in the third as Mike Yastrzemski scored off Conrad Gregor's double play ball. In the fourth inning, Smith doubled and scored off a hit by Xavier Turner to give VU a 6-0 lead.
Alabama plated its first run of the game in the top of the fifth off a Commodore error. Leading 7-2 in the top of the ninth, Adam Ravenelle worked himself into a bases loaded jam before giving way to closer Brian Miller. Kenny Roberts greeted Miller's first pitch with a grand slam to left and just like that, Vanderbilt's lead was cut to one. Miller quickly regrouped to retire the next two Crimson Tide hitters to record his 14th save of the season. Miller's save was the 19th of his career, matching the school record for career saves held by Ryan Rote.
Freshman Walker Buehler (4-1) went seven complete innings, allowing just two runs, one earned, with six strikeouts. The seven innings pitched are a career-high. The right-hander gave up seven hits, but limited the damage all night. Alabama starting pitcher Charley Sullivan (5-5) lasted only 3.2 innings, while surrendering six runs on 10 hits.
VU's offense continued its impressive output with 12 hits led by five players with at least two apiece. Tony Kemp recorded his fifth-straight multi-hit game by going 2-for-5 at the plate. Harrell went 2-for-4 and drove in two runs, giving him 59 RBI on the season. In his last two starts, Smith is 4-for-7 at the plate with two home runs and five RBI. Yastrzemski was 2-for-2 with a walk and two runs scored. The Dores continued their clutch hitting with five more two-out RBI to run the team total to 20 over the last five games.
The Commodores' 14-game winning streak matches the squad's longest streak from earlier this year and is the team's third winning streak of at least 13 games this season.
Vanderbilt and Alabama meet in game two of the series Friday night at 6:30 p.m. CT. Kevin Ziomek (10-2) gets the ball for the home team against Alabama's right-hander Spencer Turnbull (4-3).