May 17, 2007
NASHVILLE --- Vanderbilt rode another strong pitching performance by David Price to a 4-1 victory over LSU and won its first ever Southeastern Conference regular season championship in the process Thursday night in front of 2,685 fans at Hawkins Field.
The win assured at least a share of the crown and after Arkansas lost to Ole Miss tonight, the Commodores (44-10) claimed the outright title with a 20-8 league mark.
The league title is the fourth for Vanderbilt all-time as the team had won three others in postseason play in 1973, 1974 and 1980.
"I am just happy for the kids," said Vanderbilt head coach Tim Corbin. "I would have liked to have won it on the field, but we did, really. We just won before hand. I am happy for the kids and for the fans and for all the people who have followed us."
David Price gave up just a run on four hits in 8.2 innings with 15 strikeouts to improve to 10-0 on the year. He broke his own school single season record of 155 strikeouts in the third inning and now has 164 strikeouts on the year. The 10 wins are also a career best, ahead of the nine he won a year ago.
"I felt like I threw my fastball wherever I wanted to tonight," said Price. "I threw my slider where I wanted and I felt like I was clicking in my windup so I felt good."
He recorded two outs in the ninth before walking Jared Mitchell. Casey Weathers then came in to close it out, getting a fielder's choice out to end the game and pick up his sixth save of the year.
Matt Meingasner staked the Commodores to a 1-0 lead in the second on a solo homer down the right field line, his fifth homer of the year.
LSU came back to tie the game in the third when Chris Jackson led off with a double, moved to third on a sacrifice and scored on a sacrifice fly by Blake Dean.
Vanderbilt took the lead back for good the bottom half, scoring on a RBI single by Shea Robin. He finished the day 3-for-3 with an RBI.
The Dores added another run in the fifth on a sacrifice fly RBI by Pedro Alvarez to make it 3-1 and then closed out the scoring in the seventh when Alvarez scored on a fielding error that would have ended the inning.
Charlie Furbush (3-9) scattered 11 hits over seven innings and gave up four runs with just one earned with six strikeouts and two walks in the losing effort for the Tigers.
Alex Feinberg and Alvarez both had two hits for the Dores with Ryan Flaherty extending his hitting streak to 22 games with a hit in his final at-bat in the seventh.
The Commodores and Tigers will play the second game of the three game series tomorrow night at 7 p.m. Freshman southpaw Mike Minor (7-1, 3.24 ERA) will go for Vandy on the mound, while LSU will counter with sophomore lefthander Ryan Byrd (6-1, 4.57 ERA).
LSU 000 100 000 -1 4 3
Vanderbilt 010 110 10x -4 12 2
Furbush, M. Jackson and Ochinko. Price, Weathers (9) and Robin. W- Price 10-0, L- Furbush 3-9. Sv- Weathers (6). HR- VU: Meingasner (5).