NASHVILLE, Tenn. - Top-seeded Vanderbilt bounced back in a big way Sunday afternoon - Ryan Flaherty in particular.
After striking out to end last night's 4-3 loss to Michigan, Flaherty hit a three-run homer and finished 5-for-5 as the Commodores trounced fourth-seeded Austin Peay 11-5 in an elimination game in the Nashville Regional. They move on to play Michigan tonight at 7:06 p.m. CDT and, if they win, again on Monday at 6 p.m. CDT.
Vanderbilt (53-12) scored just five runs in its first two games, but responded with 11 runs on 17 hits against the Governors (40-22). On the mound, Ty Davis (3-0) picked up the victory after coming on in relief of starter Cody Crowell. He gave up no runs on just three hits, while striking out a career-high eight and walking one in 5.1 innings of work.
"We did what we had to do in game one," said Vanderbilt coach Tim Corbin. "To get some momentum going offensively, I felt like we did. Ty came in and did a great job - he put some bagels on the scoreboard which was needed because they rolled off some runs."
The Governors jumped out to an early 3-0 lead on a two-run homer by Tyler Farrar and RBI double by Levi Cheshire.
"It was a good feeling to jump out early in the game and it's always really good to have the No. 1 team on the ropes early in the game, but Davis came in and shut us down a little bit," Farrar said.
The Commodores scored six runs in the third and never looked back. Alex Feinberg (3-for-5) had a RBI single, Pedro Alvarez roped a two-run double down the rightfield line and Flaherty followed with a three-run shot over the right-centerfield wall.
Flaherty extended his hitting streak to 33 games, which is the most in school history, while Alvarez has now hit safely in 24 straight contests. Flaherty and Alvarez also became the first teammates in Vanderbilt history to each collect at least 100 hits in one season.
The Commodores scored once in the fourth on a solo homer by Dominic de la Osa to join Rutgers' Todd Frazier and Oklahoma State's Corey Brown as the only players in the country with at least 20 homers and 20 stolen bases.
The Governors got one back on a RBI double by Rafael Hill, prompting Corbin to bring in Davis.
"(We) still have at least 18 innings left so that was a good job," Corbin said. "It was a huge effort by him and very reminiscent of the game he pitched at home (earlier in the year) where he came in, sputtered for the first inning but after that got it going and shut the bats down."
"After the first inning, I kind of caught my rhythm," Davis said. "I started being aggressive and coming right at them and when the offense picked up more runs, it just made it easier for me."
Vanderbilt scored one run in the fifth on a RBI groundout by de la Osa and tacked on two more in the sixth on a homer by Matt Meingasner, his second of the Regional.
For Austin Peay, Cheshire, Hill and J.B. Gilbert led the way with two hits apiece. Starter Ryne Mantooth suffered the loss, giving up six runs, five earned, on seven hits in 2.2 innings.
Following the loss, Austin Peay coach Gary McClure had high praise for the Commodores.
"They're a special team; we saw last night that they can get beat but it doesn't change my mind about them," he said. "There's something magical happening with their season. I'm sure Coach Corbin is a whole lot more worried than I am, but I'd be surprised if they don't win this tournament somehow someway."