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Saturday: VU 11, UA 1 (7) | Thursday: VU 5, SC 4 | Wednesday: VU 4, LSU 1
HOOVER, Ala. --- LSU's Ryan Byrd limited Vanderbilt to just five hits over seven innings to lead the Tigers to a 6-2 win in the Southeastern Conference tournament title game Sunday afternoon at Regions Park.
The Tigers (46-16) won its second consecutive tourney title and won five straight in Hoover after losing to the Commodores in the opening round on Wednesday.
Byrd (1-0) kept the Commodores off balance for seven innings, limiting them to just two runs on five hits with three strikeouts and a walk. Buzzy Haydel pitched two innings of one-hit scoreless relief to close out the game for the Tigers.
"You just have to give credit to LSU and [pitcher] Ryan Byrd," said Vanderbilt head coach Tim Corbin. "He did what he had to do to keep us off balance. We really could not get anything going offensively, and I think that was the story of the game. Obviously, I did not think that six or seven runs would be insurmountable, but he did enough to keep us off balance. [Relief pitcher] Buzzy Haydel did a nice job, too. Hand it to LSU, sometimes when things are not going well, the other side has a lot to do with it, and that was the case today."
LSU jumped out to a 1-0 lead in the first when Leon Landry led off with a double, advanced to third on a grounder to first by Ryan Schimpf and scored on a grounder to short by Blake Dean.
The Tigers added two runs in the fourth to extend the lead to 3-0. Micah Gibbs doubled with one out and scored on Mikie Mahtook's RBI single to center. Mahtook then stole second and advanced to third on Jared Mitchell's infield hit to short. D.J. LaMahieu's sacrifice fly to center brought Mahtook in to make it 3-0.
Steven Liddle's solo homer in the bottom half put the Dores on the board at 3-1. It was his 10th homer of the season.
LSU added two more runs in the fifth off of reliever Grayson Garvin to push the lead to 5-1. Austin Nola walked to lead off the inning and scored on Leon Landry's RBI double to left-center. Landry moved to third on a sacrifice bunt by Ryan Schimpf and then scored on Blake Dean's sacrifice fly RBI to right.
Blake Dean's sacrifice fly RBI with the bases loaded in the seventh added another run to the Tigers lead at 6-1. The damage could have been worse as Sean Bierman loaded the bases with one out before delivering a 3-1 fastball that Dean crushed into the right-center gap. Jonathan White ran the ball down in the gap to prevent a bases clearing double and just one run came in. Bierman then struck out Micah Gibbs to end the inning.
Curt Casali's solo homer to left in the seventh cut the lead to 6-2.
Nick Christiani (5-6) was charged with the loss after giving up three runs on four hits in four innings of work with two strikeouts and a walk.
The Commodores will find out their NCAA tournament fate tomorrow at 11:30 a.m. as ESPN will unveil the 64-team field. VU will be making its fourth straight NCAA tournament appearance.
LSU 100 220 100 -6 7 1
Vanderbilt 000 100 100 -2 6 2
Byrd, Haydel (8) and Gibbs. Christiani, Garvin (5), Bierman (5), Brewer (8), Goodenow (9) and Giobbi. W- Byrd 1-0, L- Christiani 4-5. Sv- None. HR: VU: Liddle (10), Casali (10)