Tigers top Commodores
to take SEC crown
By Jimmy Jones
Special to CollegeBaseballInsider.com
HOOVER, Ala. - They split the two games they
played in the SEC Tournament, but LSU won the one that counted
the most on Sunday to win the championship game for the second
The No. 2-ranked Tigers came into the tournament winners of nine
of their last ten series, including seven straight SEC road
series dating back to May of 2008 and came all the back to
extend their winning series streak with a 6-2 win over the
starter Ryan Byrd (right) showed the VU hitters three pitches in
the game, slow, slower, and slowest, to baffle the overeager
youngsters through seven innings to pick up the win.
"You just have to give credit to LSU and [pitcher] Ryan Byrd,"
said Vanderbilt head coach Tim Corbin. "He did what he had to do
to keep us off balance. We really could not get anything going
offensively, and I think that was the story of the game.
Obviously, I did not think that six or seven runs would be
insurmountable, but he did enough to keep us off
balance. [Relief pitcher] Buzzy Haydel did a nice job, too. Hand
it to LSU, sometimes when things are not going well, the other
side has a lot to do with it, and that was the case today."
VU entered the game hitting .333 as a team with four homers, six
doubles and 20 RBI in three games.
Nick Christiani (5-6), the most experienced pitcher on the VU
staff, was making his fourth appearance in the championship game
dating back to 2006. He was charged with the loss after giving
up three runs on four hits in four innings of work with two
strikeouts and a walk.
The Tigers opened a 1-0 lead in the first on a Leon Landry
double and an RBI grounder by Blake Dean.
They made it 3-0 in the fourth when Micah Gibbs hit a one-out
double and scored on a base hit by tournament MVP Mikie Mahtook.
He promptly stole second, advanced to third on an infield hit by
Jared Mitchell and scored on a fly ball by D.J. LaMahieu.
Liddle breathed some life into the Commodore offense with a solo
shot, his tenth of the year, in the bottom of the fourth.
The Purple and Gold tacked on two runs in the fifth and one in
the seventh and VU had no answer. VU centerfielder Jonathan
White made a spectacular running catch off the bat of Dean on a
Sean Bierman pitch in deep right center to prevent a wider gap
in the score.
Curt Casali (above) hit a solo homer to left in the seventh cut
the lead to 6-2 but the Dores couldn't string anything more
together the rest of the way.
(right) was 7 for 16 with two RBI in the tourney. He made the
most of both RBI as the first was the game-winner against South
Carolina and the second concluded their game against Arkansas.
He has now hit safely in seven consecutive games.
Andrew Giobbi finished the tournament 8 of 15 with two homers, a
double and four RBI. He was joined by Liddle and Mike Minor on
the All-Tournament team.
(photos by Jimmy Jones)