April 4, 2009


Vanderbilt Edges Florida on Saturday


By Jimmy Jones

Special to CollegeBaseballInsider.com


NASHVILLE – Less than 24 hours after 19th-ranked Florida blistered Vanderbilt pitching for 18 hits to take the opening game of the series and extend its SEC winning streak to seven games, the Gators found themselves brought back to earth as redshirt sophomore Caleb Cotham limited them to just four hits and one earned run in eight innings of work in a 4-3 Commodores win Saturday.
It was just what the doctor ordered for the young Commodores, who appeared to have lost a little of their swagger while in the midst of a four-game losing streak where their pitching staff allowed 39 runs.
“This was a game we really needed,” said Vanderbilt head coach Tim Corbin. “We needed to gain some confidence, because collectively after yesterday’s game, our confidence was a little bit low.
“I could tell it was going to be a tough game just because they wanted to win so much. It wasn’t easy, because it was forced a little bit, but hopefully this [win] leads to another one.”
Florida (7-4, 19-10) drew first blood with an unearned run in the first on a throwing error by Cotham on an attempted pickoff play that allowed Matt den Dekker to score from third.
Vandy (4-7, 18-12) tied it in its half on a hit batsman, an error and a sacrifice fly by Andrew Giobbi.
The Gators upped the advantage to 2-1 on a hit by den Dekker, who promptly stole second and was plated by a hard shot off the bat of Josh Adams that Commodore shortstop Brian Harris couldn’t get a handle on.
Florida starter Nick Maronde looked as if he was going to make the lead stand as he allowed just two hits through five innings and had worked his way out of a one-out triple by Alex Hilliard in the fifth.
Things began to look even bleaker for the Black and Gold when Gators catcher Buddy Munroe bumped the advantage to 3-1 with a solo homer, his third of the year, over the left-field wall in the top of the sixth.
Steven Liddle led off the Vanderbilt sixth with a base hit, and Curt Casali reached on an error. Giobbi singled to left to load the bases before Aaron Westlake hit a grounder to first to drive in a run.
Third baseman Jason Esposito recorded the second productive out of the inning with a ground out to second that scored Casali and tied the game at 3.
The Commodores took the lead for good in the seventh when Hilliard reached on an error, was bunted over by Harris and advanced to third on an infield single by Riley Reynolds.
Liddle put his team ahead with a ground ball to Gators first baseman Preston Tucker whose throw to the plate to cut off the hustling Hilliard was late on a close play.
Freshman Sonny Gray relieved Cotham and closed it out in the ninth to pick up his fourth save and even the series.
The rubber game of the series is scheduled for a 1 pm on Sunday.