Scott entered the game in the ninth inning as a pinch hitter and then remained in the game in right field. With bases loaded and two away, pinch-hitter Matt Downs hit a shot to right field that Scott chased down and caught over his shoulder. He then crashed into the wall and fell backwards to the ground, raising the caught ball out of his glove in his left hand before he was mobbed by his teammates.
"That's my job," Scott said after the game-winning catch. "Anything hit - I have to catch it and especially in a situation like that when the tying run is on the third and the winning run is on second. It's just all out - you know you have to catch it so the wall is not even a factor."
The Commodores entered the ninth inning with a 3-0 lead and junior right-hand closer Ryan Rote on the mound. Matt Grooms began the ninth with a double down the right field line and pinch hitter Mark Haske reached base after he was hit by a pitch. Allen Rice hit a single to left field scoring Grooms. Carlos Sosa popped up to third base followed by a single to left by Evan Bush. With bases loaded, Zac Welch grounded out to first base scoring Haske to narrow the VU lead to one, 3-2. Gabe Scott was intentionally walked to load the bases for the second time in the inning. Downs then stepped to the plate for Emeel Salem and connected on the 2-2 pitch for the final out of the game.
The SEC series win is the second of the season for the Commodores (3-0 sweep vs. Georgia) and the first SEC road series victory under Head Coach Tim Corbin. The last league road series win was a 2-1 mark at LSU March 15-17, 2002.
"I've only been in this league for two years, but it might be the equivalent of September ball in the big leagues where every game means something," Corbin said. "It's not easy on either team. A three-game series is almost like a football weekend - it holds that much importance for both teams. It's just tough baseball."
Sophomore left-hander Ryan Mullins held the Crimson Tide scoreless for seven innings and picked up his fourth win of the season (4-2) . He gave up six hits while walking two and striking out six. Sophomore right-hand reliever Matt Buschmann provided one inning of relief in the eighth giving up two hits, walking one and striking out one. Rote picked up his eighth save of the season giving up two runs on three hits and faced eight batters in the ninth.
Tony Mansolino put the Commodores on the board in the second inning with a solo home run that bounced on top of the fence in right center field. It was only the second home run of the season given up by Alabama's Taylor Tankersley who went eight innings and allowing three runs (two earned) on five hits. He walked three and struck out seven Commodores.
Vanderbilt added two more in the fifth inning. Aaron Garza led off the inning with a walk and Ryan Klosterman reached base on a bobble by shortstop Rocky Scelfo on a possible double play ball. Antoan Richardson drew a walk that loaded the bases with one away. With Warner Jones at the plate, Garza scored on a wild pitch and then Jones hit a blooper to right field scoring Klosterman.
Vanderbilt is now 24-8 overall, 6-6 in the Southeastern Conference, while Alabama is now 21-13, 4-8 in league play.
The Commodores host Evansville Tuesday at 6 pm at Hawkins Field.
Score by Innings R H E ------------------------------------------- Vanderbilt.......... 010 020 000 - 3 7 0 Alabama Crimson Tide 000 000 002 - 2 11 1 ------------------------------------------- Win - R. Mullins (4-2). Loss - Tankersley (1-2). Save - R. Rote (8). WP - Tankersley(2). HBP - by R. Mullins (Grooms); by R. Rote (Haske). PB - Richardson(11). Inherited runners/scored: None. Pitches/strikes: R. Mullins 104/63; M. Buschmann 23/15; R. Rote 28/15; Tankersley 118/81; Johnson 15/10. Start: 2:06 PM Time: 2:45 Attendance: 4191