May 22, 2010
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Commodores Present Check to American Red CrossNASHVILLE--- Arkansas jumped out to 7-0 lead through six innings and withstood a late Vanderbilt rally to claim a 7-5 win Saturday afternoon at Hawkins Field.
The Razorbacks took the season series with the win and improved to 40-16 overall and 18-12 in Southeastern Conference play, while the Commodores fell to 40-15 and 16-12 in league action.
UA clinched the fourth seed in the SEC tournament, while the Commodores will be the fifth seed. The teams will meet again on Wednesday in the first round in Hoover, Ala. The contest will be the fourth and final one of the day and the exact start time is to be determined. In the past that game had a projected start time of 8 p.m. CT.
"We played poorly right off the bat," said Vanderbilt head coach Tim Corbin. "We didn't pitch well, we had a few bobbles behind the plate, second base, and in left field. I don't think there was any part of our game that we played well up until the fifth inning, and then it was the tale of two games. I think the difference was their lefty coming in to pitch against us, because (TJ) Forrest had our number. I admired the way the kids came back, but it's still second place."
Arkansas starter TJ Forrest held the Commodores in check through six innings of work, allowing just two hits with a strikeout to improve to 7-0 on the year.
UA had a 7-0 lead heading into the seventh when Aaron Westlake led off the inning with a solo homer to center to put VU on the board. It was his third homer of the weekend and 11th of the season setting a new career single season high.
"The past two games, it's taken us a while to get started," said Westlake. "We struggled in the beginning and picked it up at the end, but it was too late."
The Dores added two more runs in the seventh after a groundout as Andrew Giobbi singled, Joe Loftus walked and Connor Harrell singled to load the bases. Back-to-back walks to Bryan Johns and Brian Harris plated two runs to make it 7-3. The rally was cut short as Anthony Gomez grounded into a double play with the bases loaded to end the inning.
The Commodores tacked on a run in the eighth on a two-out RBI single by Joe Loftus and loaded the bases for the second straight inning, but Johns struck out to end the rally.
VU had made one last comeback attempt in the ninth when Anthony Gomez homered to left-center off of Razorback closer Jordan Pratt to make it 7-5. Jason Esposito then doubled to right field with one out to bring the tying run to the plate, but Westlake struck out and Casali popped out to second to end the game.
Jack Armstrong allowed five runs, four earned, on five hits in 2.1 innings with three strikeouts and two walks to drop to 7-2 on the year.
Chase Reid allowed two unearned runs in 2.2 innings, while Grayson Garvin tossed three innings of one-hit scoreless relief. Drew Hayes finished out the game with a scoreless ninth.
Andrew Giobbi and Curt Casali led the Commodores with two hits, while Andy Wilkins and Monk Kreder led the Razorbacks with two hits each.
The Razorbacks took a 2-0 lead in the second on RBI singles by Travis Sample and Kreder.
Bo Bigham's solo homer and Kreder's two-run single in the third extended the lead to 5-0.
Arkansas plated two unearned runs in the fifth to take a 7-0 lead.
Photo by John Russell