Box Score | Notes | Jones' PhotosLOUISVILLE, Ky.--- Vanderbilt broke open a 5-4 game with five runs in the top of the ninth to defeat Illinois State 10-4 Sunday afternoon in an elimination game at the NCAA Louisville Regional at Jim Patterson Stadium.
The Commodores improved to 43-18 overall and advanced to the championship round against Louisville for the second straight year. The Redbirds season ended at 32-24.
Aaron Westlake sparked the five-run ninth with a three-run homer to right-center, his second of the tourney and his 14th of the season. Joe Loftus added a RBI double and VU scored another run on the seventh error of the game by the Redbirds to make it 10-4.
The Commodores got on the board in the top of the first when Anthony Gomez reached on an error, stole second and third, and then scored on groundout to first by Aaron Westlake.
Vanderbilt added three runs in the third on just one hit, taking advantage of ISU pitcher Ryan Camp's ineffectiveness. He walked Aaron Westlake and Jason Esposito and hit Joe Loftus to load the bases. Andrew Giobbi hit a fielder's choice grounder to short to bring in a run. Curt Casali then hit a sacrifice fly RBI to left for another run. Mike Yastrzemski then lined a RBI triple to right center to score Giobbi to make it 4-0.
The Commodores added another run in the fourth on a bases loaded walk to Curt Casali.
Camp (4-6) allowed five runs, three earned, on three hits in 3.2 innings with seven walks and no strikeouts.
The Redbirds got on the board in the fourth taking advantage of two walks before Zach Amrein doubled to right-center to score a run. ISU added another on Chad Hinshaw's sacrifice fly RBI to center.
ISU came up with two more runs in the fifth to cut the lead to 5-4. Kevin Tokarski walked to lead off the inning, ending the day for VU starter Jack Armstrong. Will Clinard came on and got Ty Wiesemeyer to ground out to third and then struck out Matt Mirabal. Anthony Ruffolo then singled up the middle to score Tokarski. Ruffolo then scored on Ryan Court's infield single to third that Jason Esposito fielded and threw wide of first.
Drew Hayes got the Commodores out of a first and third situation with no outs in the sixth to keep the 5-4 lead. Brett Kay popped up a bunt attempt foul for the first out and Hayes struck out Tokarski for the second out. The runner at first stole second on the strikeout and the Redbirds had the go ahead run in scoring position. Ty Wiesemeyer then hit a slow roller to third that Esposito tried to field but was interfered with by the runner at second. Third base umpire Mike Grace called the runner out due to interference to end the inning.
Hayes continued his strong late season season surge with 2.2 innings of no-hit scoreless relief with three strikeouts and a walk. He has now thrown 8.2 innings of scoreless relief in his last six outings.
Will Clinard allowed one unearned run on four hits in an inning of relief with two strikeouts to pick up the win to move to 4-0. Chase Reid pitched the final 1.1 innings of one-hit scoreless relief to notch his third save of the year.