Baseball: Vandy advances to Super Regionals

NASHVILLE-- Taylor Hill struck out a career-best 13 in eight innings, allowing only one run, and Jason Esposito went 3-for-4 with a double, home run and two RBIs in Vanderbilt's 6-1 victory over Belmont in the championship game of the Nashville Regional here Sunday night at Hawkins Field.

Hill (5-1) was dominant from the beginning, striking out six of the first 13 batters of the contest and giving up just five hits and matching his longest outing of the season. Belmont's Tim Egerton led off the second inning with a solo homer for the Bruins (38-26) only run of the game.

Matt Lamm recorded the final three outs for the Commodores (50-10). Belmont had only one other runner reach second base in the game, Greg Brody, after a single and an error in the fourth inning.

BU starter James Buckelew (2-7) took the loss, allowing three runs on four hits in three innings of work. He walked four and did not strike out a batter.

NCAA Regional Tournament MVP Esposito doubled home a run in the third, singled in the fifth and hit a solo homer to leadoff the seventh, finishing 7-for-13 with three runs scored and four RBIs in VU's three games in the tourney.

Anthony Gomez, Conrad Gregor and Riley Reynolds all collected two hits for Vanderbilt. Judah Akers recorded two of Belmont's six hits in the contest.

Vanderbilt scored once in the second after back-to-back singles from Gregor and Connor Harrell and walks to Reynolds and Tony Kemp, the latter forcing in a run.

But the lead was short-lived, as Egerton lined a leadoff homer just over the wall in leftfield.

The Commodores added two more runs in the third, starting with a walk to Curt Casali and a soft single to center from Mike Yastrzemski. Esposito lined an RBI double into rightcenter and Gregor's line drive to leftcenter plated another run for a 3-1 VU advantage.

In the sixth Reynolds singled with one out and Kemp reached on an error before Gomez doubled just inside the third base bag. Casali's line drive later scored Kemp for a 5-1 lead.

Esposito's leadoff homer in the seventh, his eighth of the season, was the final run of the game.
           1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9   R  H E
VANDERBILT 0 1 2 0 0 2 1 0 0 - 6 11 2
BELMONT    0 1 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 - 1  6 1

Belmont Bruins second baseman Greg Brody (3) is safe against Vanderbilt Commodores short stop Anthony Gomez (13) during game six of the Nashville regional of the 2011 NCAA baseball tournament at Hawkins Field. (Jim Brown-US PRESSWIRE)

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