Hoover, Ala. - Vanderbilt used a pair of outstanding pitching performances to beat Georgia 4-1 Tuesday night in the first round of the Southeastern Conference Tournament at Regions Park.
Vanderbilt starter Drew VerHagen (6-2) was sharp over 5.1 innings to earn the win before handing the ball over to freshman Brian Miller, who worked 3.2 innings to notch his team-best fifth save. VerHagen worked around a leadoff single in the first but was tagged for a run in the second after allowing a leadoff double to score. The junior right-hander settled down after that and worked into the sixth allowing only three more hits before turning the ball over to Miller. The freshman quickly picked up a pair of pop outs to end the sixth and strand Georgia's fourth runner of the night. Miller finished off the Commodores' (30-25) win with three more scoreless innings, striking out three and allowing only one hit. Jack Lupo's diving catch down the left field line ended the game and pushed the Dores' winning streak to a season-best six games.
The Vanderbilt offense responded in the third inning with a big two-out rally. Georgia (31-25) starter Alex Wood (7-3) struck out the first two batters to start the inning before hitting Mike Yastrzemski with a pitch. Anthony Gomez singled and Conrad Gregor walked to load the bases for Spencer Navin, who came through with a base hit up the middle on a 3-2 pitch to score Yastrzemski and Gomez for a 2-1 Vandy lead. The Dores extended the lead in the fifth when Gomez singled in Yastrzemski and again in the sixth when Kemp singled through the right side to plate Vince Conde.
Kemp, Gomez and Navin led the way, all posting two hits to account for all six of Vanderbilt's hits. Nelson Ward led Georgia with two of the Bulldogs' six hits.
Vanderbilt advances to the second round to take on No. 2 seed South Carolina in the final game Wednesday night at Regions Park. T.J. Pecoraro (1-4) gets the ball for Vandy against South Carolina's lefty Jordan Montgomery (4-1). The Commodores will be the visiting team with the game televised on CSS.
The win sets up a familiar situation for the Dores. Last year at the Southeastern Conference Tournament, Vanderbilt beat Georgia in the first round to advance to play South Carolina in the second round. VU beat South Carolina in the second round in 2011 en route to the title game.