Rebels eliminate defending SEC champs

May 24, 2008

(Photo by Neil Brake)

Williamson's Postgame Column: Thinking ahead

Box Score  |  Quotes  |  Notes  |  Season Stats

Game One Recap: Vanderbilt 7 Ole Miss 4

NCAA SELECTION SHOW: Monday at 11:30 a.m. CT on ESPN

HOOVER, Ala. -- Vanderbilt's late rally fell short as Ole Miss held on for an 8-7 win in the semifinals of the Southeastern Conference tournament Saturday night at Regions Park.

The Commodores trailed 8-3 heading into the bottom of the eighth when Pedro Alvarez walked and Ryan Flaherty singled to lead off the inning. Rebel ace closer Scott Bittle came in and struck out Dominic de la Osa and Steven Liddle before Andrew Giobbi banged a RBI double down the left field line to score Alvarez to cut the lead to 8-4. Shea Robin then singled up the middle to score two runs and make it a two-run deficit at 8-6.

Pedro Alvarez launched a solo homer with one out in the bottom of the ninth to cut the lead to 8-7. It was his 49th career homer tying him with Scotti Madison for first on the school's career list. 

Ryan Flaherty followed Alvarez' homer with a single to center, but de la Osa and Liddle struck out to end the game.

"We came up short tonight, but we've got some young kids who grew up this week," said Vanderbilt head coach Tim Corbin

The Commodores streak of three straight championship game appearances in as many opportunities (2004, 2006-07) ended as they fell to 40-20 with the loss.

The Rebels improved to 37-23 and advanced to the championship game for the second time in three years where they will face a red hot LSU team that is carrying a 19 game winning streak into the game.

Michael Guerrero's three-run homer in the first staked the Rebels to a 3-0 lead. It was his seventh of the season, coming on the first pitch offering from VU starter Drew Hayes.

Flaherty blasted a two-run homer in the second to cut the deficit to 3-2. It was his 14th homer of the year and scored Alex Feinberg who reached on a walk.

The score stayed the same until the fourth when Ole Miss used a RBI double by Tim Ferguson and a RBI single by Jordan Henry to extend the lead to 5-2.

Guerrero added a solo homer in the fifth, his fourth of the tourney, to extend the lead to 6-2.

Steven Liddle doubled with one out in the sixth and scored on Andrew Giobbi's RBI single to right to make it 6-3.

Matt Smith's solo homer in the seventh, his 14th of the year, put the Rebels back up by four at 7-3. The Rebels added another run on a RBI groundout in the eighth to make it 8-3.

Drew Hayes gave up three runs, all via the homer in the first, in three innings of work with two strikeouts and four walks to drop to 2-1 on the year.

Steven Schwartz came on in relief in the fourth and struck out a career-high nine batters in 4.1 innings of work. He gave up five runs on nine hits and did not walk a batter.

Mark Lamm threw 0.2 innings and Chase Reid 1.0 innings of scoreless relief to close out the game for VU.

Ryan Flaherty led the Commodores with three hits, while Andrew Giobbi added two of his own with two RBI.

"I think we can take a lot out of this tournament," said Flaherty. "We've got a little bit of momentum going."

Jake Morgan gave up three runs on three hits in three innings of work to pick up the win to move to 4-0 on the year.

The Commodores will return back to Nashville on Sunday morning and have the day off. NCAA Regional sites will be announced at 6 p.m. CT on ESPN2. The 64-team NCAA Tournament field will be announced Monday at 11:30 a.m. CT on ESPN.

Ole Miss                        300            210            110            -8            12            0
Vanderbilt                     200            001            031            -7            9              0

Bukvich, Morgan (5), Bittle (9) and Basham. Hayes, Schwartz (4), Lamm (8), Reid (9) and Robin W-Morgan 4-0, L- Hayes 2-1. Sv- None. HR: OM: Guerrero 2 (8), M. Smith (14) VU: Flaherty (14), Alvarez (9)

Saturday (Game 1): Vanderbilt 7 Ole Miss 4
Friday: Vanderbilt 7 South Carolina 5
Thursday: LSU 8 Vanderbilt 2
Wednesday: Vanderbilt 7 Florida 3



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