Feb. 25, 2011

Rankings are from CBI Composite Poll

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CBI Live
Gray settles in as Vandy edges Stanford

By Jimmy Jones

Special to CollegeBaseballInsider.com

(photos by Jimmy Jones) 


NASHVILLE, Tenn. – Preseason All-American Sonny Gray (right) won an outstanding pitchers’ duel with Stanford ace Mark Appel as No. 3 Vanderbilt edged the 10th-ranked Cardinal 2-1 on a blustery and bitterly cool Friday evening at Hawkins Field.


The Commodores (6-0) used back-to-back doubles in the sixth inning by Curt Casali and Anthony Gomez to break a 1-1 tie and then turned the game over to the bullpen, which did the rest by turning in three scoreless innings.


Jason Esposito (left) gave the Commodores an early lead with a two-out single in the first inning to drive in sophomore Mike Yastrzemski, but it was a short-lived advantage.


The Cardinal (3-2) answered in the second inning when it loaded the bases and tied the game when Gray walked Tyler Gaffney to plate Stephen Piscotty.


Gray (2-0) settled down from there, allowing three hits with four walks and six strikeouts.  The right-hander didn’t allow a hit over his final four frames. 


“I think Sonny found that they were coming after his fastball, and he was maybe overthrowing a little bit,” Vanderbilt coach Tim Corbin said. “Against a good team like this, he was maybe trying to throw too hard to start the game. He made the adjustment as the game went on and took something off that pitch, and he was able to pick up a well-deserved win.”


Appel (0-1) (right) was the tough-luck loser, giving up two runs on seven hits in a career-best six innings.


“I thought we faced Major League-type pitching tonight,” Corbin said. “Appel was as good as any you will see, and their left-hander [Chris Reed] was just as tough.”


Stanford squandered chances twice when it placed the tying run on in the eighth and ninth innings. In the ninth Brian Rigera singled with one out, but Commodores reliever Navery Moore struck out Austin Wilson and induced pinch-hitter Justin Ringo to ground out to end the contest.


Gomez, Casali and Conner Harrell led Vanderbilt with two hits apiece. Jake Stewart paced the Cardinal offense with two hits.


The two teams play the second game of the series Saturday afternoon at Hawkins Field with first pitch slated for 2 p.m. Senior right-hander Taylor Hill (1-0) takes the bump for the Commodores against Cardinal right-hander Dean McArdle, who won his last start against No. 18 Rice last weekend.