May 8, 2009


CBI Live
Gray pitches Vanderbilt past Georgia


By Jimmy Jones

Special to


ATHENS Georgia--Freshman Sonny Gray (left) gave the Vanderbilt Commodores a much-needed shot in the arm in the first SEC start of his career Friday night in a 10-2 victory at Foley Field with six complete innings and allowing only three hits while walking four and striking out a career-high seven hitters. The Bulldogs (14-11 SEC, 33-16) scored one earned run against the hard-throwing right-hander.
The Commodores (11-13, 30-20) put up a four-spot in the first inning when Brian Harris led off with a double down the left field line, Steven Liddle walked and Curt Casali followed with an RBI fielder's choice. Aaron Westlake continued to swing the bat at a torrid pace with a searing line drive over the right field wall to put the Commodores up 3-0.
Andrew Giobbi homered moments later for Vanderbilt to give them back-to-back homer uns for the first time since April 1 of this year to put his team up 4-0 and that would be all Gray would need.
Gray (4-1) pitched his way into trouble in the second inning by hitting Bryce Massanari and walking Joey Lewis to lead off the frame but pitched his way out by striking out Lyle Allen and Peter Verdin before inducing a ground ball off the bat of Levi Hyams to end the Bulldog threat.
Vanderbilt scored two in the third on hits by Westlake (right) and Joe Esposito and tacked on runs in the fourth, fifth and seventh on a total of 11 hits.
Georgia's only runs came in the third and the ninth but it wasn't because they lacked opportunities to score as evidenced by the 13 base runners they left on base in the contest.
Trevor Holder picked up the loss with six innings of work. He allowed nine hits and eight earned runs. He struck out two and walked two.
Westlake finished the game with three hits in four trips to boost his average to .388 on the season. The red-shirt freshman had two home runs among his hits to account for three RBI. It was the first two-homer game by a Commodore since Pedro Alvarez hit two against Memphis in May of last year.
Esposito and Joe Loftus joined the multi-hit parade for the Black and Gold with two knocks each.
Georgia totaled only four hits in the game, one of those was by first baseman Rich Poythress (left), the College Baseball Insider's co-player of the week in March who is second in the country in RBI and the Southeastern Conference batting average leader. His season average now stands at .403.
The series continues Saturday at 1:00 p.m. Vanderbilt will send Mike Minor (4-4, 3.93) to the mound in a rare middle-game start.
The Bulldogs counter with Alex McRee (4-1, 3.55).

(photos courtesy of Jimmy Jones)