Vandy Sweeps a Struggling Bulldog Team

NASHVILLE, Tenn. - Freshman Aaron Garza's infield hit in the bottom of the 10th inning with the bases loaded drove in the game-winning run for the Commodores in a 5-4 decision over Mississippi State today at Hawkins Field. It is the first ever Vanderbilt sweep over the Bulldogs. The Commodores improve to 31-13, 10-11 in the SEC, while Mississippi State owns a 28-18 record, 8-13 in the league.

With one away in the bottom of the 10th inning, Warner Jones singled to left field. MSU's Saunders Ramsey then came on in relief for Jamie Gant and gave up a single to Cesar Nicolas moving Jones to second. Tony Mansolino flied out to center field for the second out of the inning. Worth Scott's hit to the shortstop loaded the bases for Garza. After a 2-1 count, MSU Head Coach Ron Polk visited with home plate umpire Tim Clougherty who ejected Polk from the game after questioning balls and strikes. After the short delay, Garza took a strike and then hit a chopper to the left side of the infield and shortstop Steve Gendron was not able to make a play at any base.

"For a young kid, he (Garza) has been pretty impressive in that he's done the job of putting the ball in play with runners in scoring position," VU Head Coach Tim Corbin said. "He doesn't strike out much and he gives you a quality at bat every time."

"I just wanted to put the ball in play and hopefully score the winning run," Garza commented.

The Bulldogs led 3-0 going into the sixth inning. MSU scored one in the first inning when Craig Tatum's double off the left-field wall scored Brad Corley who reached on a single with two away. Tatum led off the fourth inning with a home run on the first pitch to extend the Bulldog lead to 2-0. MSU's third run came in the sixth inning when Brad Jones scored on two Commodore errors. B. Jones reached base on four consecutive balls and moved to second on a single by Tyler Jones. Brad Jones then moved to third when the ball rolled past Worth Scott in right field and scored when shortstop Ryan Klosterman over threw third baseman Tony Mansolino.

The Commodores got on the board in the sixth inning. With one away, Nicolas singled to left field and moved to second when Mansolino grounded out to second base. Nicolas moved to third on a wild pitch by Jeff Lacher and scored when catcher Craig Tatum could not find the ball.

Vanderbilt took its first lead of the game in the seventh inning, 4-3. Garza led off the inning with a standup double to left field - the first extra base hit of the game for the Commodores - and moved to third on Lacher's second wild pitch. Garza then scored on a sacrifice fly to left center field by Jonathan Douillard to narrow the Bulldog lead to two, 3-2. With two away, Klosterman reached on a single to center field and moved to second when Mike Baxter hit another shot to left field. Jamie Gant came in relief for Lacher and gave up a two-run double to Warner Jones that landed deep in the right field corner. Klosterman scored on the double and Baxter scored when the throw by right fielder Brad Corley was off the mark to the infield giving VU the lead.

The Bulldogs regained the lead in their very next at bat. In the eighth inning with Stephen Shao in relief on the mound, MSU's B. Jones singled up the middle and moved to second on a wild pitch by Shao. B. Jones then scored on a pinch-hit by Tyler Scarbrough to left field. Scarbrough was out at second on a 7-6-4 putout (Garza, Klosterman, Jones). Jensen Lewis then came in relief and struck out the following two batters to retire the side.

"It was a gritty win," VU Head Coach Tim Corbin said. "It wasn't pretty in a lot of ways, but we've played some tough games like that all year. It wasn't easy, but it was enough to win."

The extra inning game was the third for the Commodores and fourth for Mississippi State.

In his first Southeastern Conference start of his career, sophomore right-hander Matt Buschmann went 7.0 innings and gave up three runs (two earned) on nine hits and struck out seven. Stephen Shao went 0.1 innings and gave up one run (earned) on two hits. Jensen Lewis (5-4) earned the win with 2.2 innings of relief work giving up only one hit and striking out four.

"It was solid performance by Matt Buschmann," Corbin said. He did a nice job early and getting us to seven innings was really huge. Jensen (Lewis) finished the job for the second time this weekend. He came in and pitched very, very well and that helped our bull pen."

Lacher went 6.2 innings for the Bulldogs and gave up four runs (three earned) on eight hits while striking out five. Jamie Gant (4-5) earned the loss going 2.2 innings giving up one run (earned) on two hits. Saunders Ramsey went 0.1 inning with three hits.

The Commodores travel to Knoxville for a three-game series with the Volunteers next weekend (May 7-9).

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