May 20, 2009
HOOVER, Ala. --- Mike Minor pitched his second complete game victory in three games to lead Vanderbilt to a 4-1 win over No. 2 LSU Wednesday night in the opening round of the Southeastern Conference tournament at Regions Park.
Minor (6-4), pitching on four days rest, scattered six hits over nine innings and allowed just one run while striking out five and walking three. It was his second complete game of the season and second in three games after achieving the feat against Georgia on May 9.
"Early in the game, I wasn't really pitching, I was just throwing the ball," said Mike Minor. "I got lucky with my defense backing me up and turning double plays. Later in the ballgame, I started feeling my stuff, and started throwing more off-speed, more curveballs and sliders. And then in the eighth and ninth inning, I clicked in and I felt like I was just starting the game - and it worked for us."
Vanderbilt improved to 32-24, while LSU fell to 41-16. It marks the fourth straight season the No. 8 seed has defeated the No. 1 seed in the tourney. The win snapped a four-game losing streak for the Dores as well.
"It was a very important game for us," said Vanderbilt head coach Tim Corbin. "We had a tough week-and-a-half in some regards with the tough losses we had all coming down to the ninth and 10th inning. We talked about it a lot coming into this tournament. It is a situation where we have to play well. We have to give a lot of credit to [pitcher] Mike Minor tonight. He has pitched a lot of great games at Vanderbilt, but this is probably the best he has pitched in my estimation. I thought Andrew Giobbi did a nice job in catching the game. We had timely hits in the middle of the order. I am just proud of what happened."
Giobbi's solo homer to left in the fourth gave the Commodores a 1-0 lead. VU added another run in the fifth on a bases loaded sacrifice fly RBI by Curt Casali to make it 2-0. Brian Harris walked with one out, Jonathan White doubled to left and Steven Liddle was intentionally walked to load the bases. Casali who grounded out to short his first two at bats, crushed Austin Ross' first pitch offering to deep center where Mikie Mahtook caught it at the base of the wall.
The Dores added two more runs in the seventh to extend the lead to 4-0. White led off with a single up the middle and then moved to third on Steven Liddle's RBI single to center. Daniel Bradshaw then came on in relief of Ross and gave up a double off the wall in left to score White. Aaron Westlake then hit a sacrifice fly to center to score Liddle to make it 4-0.
LSU's lone run came in the seventh on a RBI groundout to first by Austin Nola. Tyler Hanover doubled past Casali at first and down the right field line to lead off the frame. Minor struck out Jared Mitchell before Micah Gibbs singled to left to advance the runner. Nola then grounded to first to score Hanover.
Vanderbilt will face the winner of the No. 4 seed Alabama/ No. 5 seed South Carolina contest Thursday night at 8:30 p.m.
Vanderbilt 000 110 200 -4 9 0
LSU 000 000 100 -1 6 1
Minor and Giobbi. Ross, Bradshaw (7), Bertuccini (7), Jones (8) and Gibbs. W- Minor 5-4, L- Ross 5-7. Sv- None. HR: VU: Giobbi (5)