April 18, 2010

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CBI Live
Westlake hits game-winning homer in ninth for Vanderbilt

By Jimmy Jones

Special to CollegeBaseballInsider.com

(photos by Jimmy Jones)


NASHVILLE, Tenn.--It was the stuff that every little kid has dreamed of in back yards all over the world, and Vanderbilt's Aaron Westlake (right) got to live it when he stepped to the plate in the bottom of the ninth inning in a 2-2 game with the SEC series on the line between Auburn and Vanderbilt at Hawkins Field on Sunday afternoon.
Westlake hammered the second pitch he saw from Tiger pitcher Grant Dayton (4-2) over the right field fence just inside the foul pole to end the game and give the Commodores a 3-2 victory and the series win amid a raucous celebration by the near capacity crowd in attendance.
It was the first walk-off home run for the Commodores since Curt Casali hit one against Middle Tennessee State on March 26, 2008
"It was nice to see Aaron get a hit like that," VU coach Tim Corbin said. "He's been struggling a bit as of late and you can kind of see him trying to figure it out."
The swing ruined what had been an outstanding stint by Dayton (left), who had retired 10 straight batters before Westlake's heroics.
"Grant had retired 10 in a row and his stuff was still good. When you look at Westlake, his first three at bats he didn't hit anything hard off of Grant," Tiger coach John Pawlowski said. "It wasn't one pitch, it wasn't one play and it wasn't one swing that caused us not to win today, it was a culmination of a lot of different things."
Vanderbilt starter Taylor Hill, coming off a career best outing against South Carolina picked up right where he left off last week as he allowed a first inning run on a sacrifice fly by Hunter Morris to score Justin Fradejas who reached on a leadoff single.
Trent Mummey's (right) solo homer, his second of the series, in the third inning extended the lead to 2-0 for the last runs the Tigers (8-7 SEC, 24-13) would score in the contest.
Vanderbilt (8-7 SEC, 29-9) tied it at 2-2 in the bottom of the third on Brian Harris' two-run single to center, scoring Joe Loftus and Drew Fann.
Hill (left) allowed two runs on seven hits and no walks in 8 2/3 innings in another no-decision. He left with a man on first and two down in the ninth, before giving way to Richie Goodenow (2-0), who earned the win by striking out the only hitter he faced to move to 2-0 on the season.
"Taylor deserves better," Corbin said. "To pick up four runs in two weekends and he has nothing to show for it. That's some really good pitching and everything you can possibly do on a Sunday afternoon. This is a strong hitting team and he just did a great job and I'm proud of him."
Dayton picked up the loss for Auburn despite only allowing three runs on six hits with five strikeouts and two walks.
"Grant did a great job," Pawlowski said. "I feel so bad for him and for our whole club. We battled hard today but we couldn't get anything going offensively. Their pitcher (Hill) threw an outstanding game and there were two very good pitchers going at it toe-to-toe. One mistake and that's the difference."