Commodores in 10
By Jimmy Jones
Special to CollegeBaseballInsider.com
NASHVILLE, Tenn. - The stage is now set and it is
a drama that the Vanderbilt Commodores would rather have avoided
having a starring role in.
Needing just one win in three games after Kentucky's loss
Thursday night, the Commodores (12-16 SEC, 31-23) now find
themselves down to just one more attempt to play their way into
the SEC Tournament without needing some help from Florida
against the Wildcats on Saturday after a 7-6 loss to Tennessee
Friday night in Nashville.
had to like its chances in this game as it sent its staff ace to
the mound in Mike Minor (right), who was coming off an
outstanding 12-strikeout performance against Georgia on Saturday
in Athens. But the Volunteers were up to the task as they
touched up the College Baseball Insider's preseason All-American
pick for 10 hits and five earned runs in 7.2 innings.
The win insured that the Volunteers (10-19, 25-29) took the
season series for the first time since 2006 and for the first
time in Nashville since the 2001 season.
Zach Osborne's RBI single in the third gave UT a 1-0 lead. VU
tied the game in the fourth on a sacrifice fly RBI by Andrew
The two teams traded runs in the fifth before the Volunteers
took a 5-2 lead via a sac fly by Matt Hamaker and a two-run bomb
by Blake Forsythe.
came back to take the lead with a four-run eighth when Steven
Liddle worked his way on via a walk with one down and came
around to score on a double by Curt Casali (left). Aaron
Westlake reached on an error before Tennessee elected to
intentionally walk Joe Loftus to set the stage for centerfielder
Jonathan White, who made the last out Thursday night with the
bases loaded on a well struck ball that was caught at the
The fifth-year senior from Shelbyville, Tennessee made good on
his second chance with a searing line drive into centerfield on
a 0-1 count to plate the tying, as well as the go-ahead runs to
give the Dores a 6-5 advantage with the Vols down to just three
outs in the game.
Charley Thurber led off the ninth with a double into the left
field corner for UT, his third two-bagger of the game. VU closer
Russell Brewer struck out Matt Ramsey and was one pitch away
from doing the same to Zach Osborne before he unloaded a base
hit to score Thurber to tie the game and force extra innings.
Davis (right) singled to left to start the tenth off of reliever
Richie Goodenow (0-1). Cody Hawn then reached on a sacrifice
bunt as Goodenow fielded the ball cleanly, but his throw was
wide allowing the runner to reach base.
VU head coach Tim Corbin called Nick Christiani out of the
bullpen and Forsythe faked a bunt and then chopped a single over
the head of third baseman Jason Esposito to score the game
"We just didn't get it done tonight," Corbin said. "It's the way
it goes and we need to win tomorrow. We had opportunities and
didn't take advantage of them. We couldn't get the ball in play
with someone on third; that's happened six times. Tennessee
gained the momentum and just didn't let go."
The Commodores have now stranded 21 base runners in the first
two games of the series.
The two squads lock horns in the final game of the set on
Saturday at 12:00 p.m. Junior right-hander Drew Hayes (4-3, 5.72
ERA) will start for VU, while UT's starter is TBA.
Vanderbilt holds a half-game lead over Kentucky, which defeated
the Florida Gators 8-7 on Friday night.
"We know what we need to do, and we have the players to do it,"
Corbin said. "We just need to execute and win a baseball game."
(photos by Jimmy Jones)