Firing blanks: Vandy stifles Gators 3-0, earns bye

HOOVER, Ala.-- Sizzling Vanderbilt followed Wednesday's 6-0 shutout of Georgia with a 3-0 shutout of Florida Thursday in the SEC Tournament. With the win, the Commodores (41-16) earned a day off Friday and will play at 10 a.m. Saturday vs. the winner of Friday's Georgia-Florida elimination game. It was Vanderbilt's seventh straight win, and its 14th in its last 17 games.

HOOVER, Ala.-- Sizzling Vanderbilt followed Wednesday's 6-0 shutout of Georgia with a 3-0 shutout of sixth-seeded Florida Thursday in the SEC Tournament. With the win, the Commodores (41-16) earned a day off Friday and will play at 10 a.m. Saturday vs. the winner of Friday's Georgia-Florida elimination game.

It was Vanderbilt's seventh straight win, and its 14th in its last 17 games. Vanderbilt, making only its second SEC Tournament appearance in eight years, remained unscored-upon in its two tournament games.

Tony Mansolino is hit by a pitch. (AP / Dave Martin)
Starter Ryan Mullins scattered seven hits and struck out a career high 12 batters over eight innings for Vandy. When the Gators put two men on base with no out in the ninth inning, Vandy coach Tim Corbin inserted reliever Jensen Lewis, who promptly got Matt LaPorta to hit into a double play. Lewis then struck out Brian Leclerc to end the game.

"Another well pitched game," Vanderbilt Head Coach Tim Corbin said of Mullins' performance. "Sowers yesterday and Mullins today. The turning point in my mind for Mullins was the third inning with a guy on base and him striking out Smith and Harrison."

Ryan Klosterman scored Vanderbilt's first run of the game on a sacrifice fly from Warner Jones in the first inning. Cesar Nicolas homered to center field later in the inning, to give Vandy an early 2-0 lead. The Commodores added an insurance run in the fourth when Aaron Garza's sacrifice fly scored Nicolas from third.

It turned out to be all Vanderbilt would need. Starter Tommy Boss went all nine innings for Florida, as the Gators dropped to 39-19. The Gators now face Georgia, which stayed alive Thursday with a 1-0 win over LSU. In the other bracket, top-seeded Arkansas eliminated Ole Miss, 4-3.

"We definitely came to this tournament feeling like we belong here," Nicolas said. "It's our second consecutive year and we've come with more confidence. We feel like every win we get here is big for us with what kind of seed we get in the NCAA Tournament. We came ready to play good baseball and build our resume."

Score by Innings                   R H E
-------------------------------------------
Vanderbilt.......... 200 100 000 - 3 7 0
FLORIDA............. 000 000 000 - 0 7 1
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Win - R. Mullins (8-2). Loss - Boss (3-5).
Save - J. Lewis (2).


Start: 5:00 pm Time: 2:14



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