'Dores edge South Carolina, 5-4
May 22, 2009
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HOOVER, Ala. --- Jonathan White's nine-pitch bases loaded walk in the top of the ninth inning lifted Vanderbilt to a 5-4 win over No. 20 South Carolina in the second round of the Southeastern Conference tournament Thursday night at Regions Park.
White was down 0-2 and then drew three balls and fouled off three pitches before drawing the walk on a high pitch by reliever Michael Roth (1-1) to give VU a 5-4 lead. White finished the night 3-for-4 and has six hits in the tourney.
"Jonathan had a great at-bat at the end of the game, which gave us the go-ahead run," said Vanderbilt head coach Tim Corbin. "To just get into the situation where we could work the count to 3-2 was great. The way he is using the field too is great. He's hitting balls up the middle, down the line, and off the wall. I'm just happy for him. He deserves it because he has really worked hard. He hasn't had a lot to show for it until now."
South Carolina (38-20), who swept Vanderbilt (33-24) in the first weekend of May, would not go down quietly as they loaded the bases in the bottom of the ninth with one out. Scott Wingo led off with a single up the middle off of Richie Goodenow. Russell Brewer came on out of the bullpen and gave up a single to Whit Merrifield and got DeAngelo Mack to strikeout for the first out in the frame. Sean Bierman, who hadn't pitched since April 25th against Mississippi State, came on to face the left-handed Jackie Bradley Jr. and walked him on five pitches to load the bases. Chase Reid then came on and got Nick Ebert to pop up to second and then struck out Justin Dalles to end the game. He picked up his first career save in the outing.
Vanderbilt advances to the semifinal round for the fourth straight year and fifth time in six years. The Commodores will take Friday off and face the winner of the No. 2 seed Florida/No. 7 Arkansas game on Saturday at 10 a.m. The Gators and Razorbacks will meet on Friday at 3 p.m. in an elimination game.
Sonny Gray had a career high 11 strikeouts in a career long seven innings pitched. He gave up four runs on eight hits with three walks while throwing 113 pitches in the no-decision.
Andrew Giobbi led the Commodores with a 4-for-4 night at the plate and is 7-for-8 in the first two games of the tourney.
"It was an adjustment to start out with," said Giobbi on his hot hitting. "I didn't change my approach or anything, it was just about going after the right pitches and it's been paying off."
Richie Goodenow allowed two hits in a third of an inning with a strikeout to pick up his first win of the year.
The Gamecocks got on the board first, scoring a run in the third scoring on a RBI groundout by DeAngelo Mack. Bobby Haney led off with a single to left and then moved to second on an infield bunt single by Scott Wingo. Whit Merrifield then bunted the runners into scoring position before Mack grounded to first to score Haney.
The Commodores came back with two runs in the fourth to take a 2-1 lead. Jonathan White led off with a single and moved to third on an opposite field double by Steven Liddle. Sam Dyson struck out Curt Casali before Aaron Westlake grounded out to short to bring in White to tie the game. Andrew Giobbi then doubled down the left field line to score Liddle and give VU at 2-1 lead.
USC tied the game back up in the bottom half on an infield RBI single by Bobby Haney. Nick Ebert led off with a single up the middle and moved to second on a single by Justin Dalles. Andrew Crisp hit a fielder's choice grounder to third to advance Ebert, as Esposito went for the force out at second. Crisp advanced to second on a wild pitch by Gray before Haney singled to a diving Brian Harris at short. Harris stopped the ball from going into the outfield and Ebert scored to tie the game. Crisp tried to score from second on the play, but was thrown out at the plate by Brian Harris to end the inning.
Back-to-back solo homers by Aaron Westlake and Andrew Giobbi in the sixth put the Commodores up 4-2.
South Carolina came back to tie the game in the bottom of the eighth, knocking Gray out of the game in the process. He walked Jackie Bradley Jr. to start the inning and gave up a double down the left field line to Nick Ebert. Caleb Cotham came on in relief of Gray and and got Justin Dalles to pop out to left for the first out in the inning. Andrew Crisp then hit a RBI groundout to second to score Bradley Jr. to cut the lead to 4-3. Reliever Richie Goodenow came on to face left-handed pinch hitter Jeffrey Jones, but South Carolina switched to right-hander Parker Bangs. He ripped a double down the left-field line to score Ebert to tie the game. Goodenow came back to strikeout Bobby Haney to end the threat.
Vanderbilt 000 202 001 -5 10 0
South Carolina 001 100 020 -4 11 2
Gray, Cotham (8), Goodenow (8), Brewer (9), Bierman (9), Reid (9) and Giobbi. Dyson, Roth (8) and Dailes. W- Goodenow 1-1, L- Roth 1-1. Sv- Reid (1). HR: VU: Westlake (7), Giobbi (6)