Two hits enough: Vandy slips past Tide, 1-0

Three Commodore pitchers combined for a five-hit shutout as Vanderbilt improved to 16-5, 2-2 in Southeastern Conference play, with a 1-0 victory before a sellout crowd at Charles Hawkins Field. Alabama is now 19-6, 3-1 in SEC action. Reliever <B>Ryan Rote</b> picked up the save and became Vandy's all-time save leader.

NASHVILLE-- The more things change, the more they stay the same. Vanderbilt shuffled its lineup Friday and once again defeated Alabama by the slimmest of margins.

Three Commodore pitchers combined for a five-hit shutout as Vanderbilt improved to 16-5, 2-2 in Southeastern Conference play, with a 1-0 victory before a sellout crowd at Charles Hawkins Field. Alabama is now 19-6, 3-1 in SEC action.

Vanderbilt's last four victories over the Crimson Tide have all been by a single run.

Ryan Rote pitched the ninth inning and earned his 16th career save and became VU's all-time leader. He surpassed David Daniels, who had 15 from 1992-95.

Starting pitcher Jensen Lewis remained unbeaten for the season as he allowed just four hits and struck out four in seven innings. Lewis improved to 5-0 and lowered his season ERA to 0.89.

Junior first baseman Mike Baxter, who had been the Commodore cleanup hitter all season, batted leadoff for the first time in his life and immediately made the move pay off. Baxter led off the bottom of the first with a walk on four consecutive pitches, stole second and moved to third on a ground out to the right side by sophomore Aaron Garza. Baxter scored the game's only run on a two-out hit by Warner Jones who took Baxter's place at cleanup.

Jones's single was one of only two hits for the Commodores in the game. Freshman DH Alex Feinberg also had a single in the fourth inning.

Lewis did not allow a run despite several good opportunities for the Crimson Tide. Alabama stranded runners at second and third with one away in the second inning; left runners at second and third with two away in the fourth; left the leadoff batter (double) at second in the fifth; and stranded two runners (both walks) with one away in the sixth. In the ninth inning, Alabama had runners on first and second with one away, before Rote struck out Kody Valverde and forced pinch-hitter Matt Grooms to ground out.

Sophomore left-hander Stephen Shao pitched a hitless eighth inning.

Alabama starter T.J. Large gave up only two hits in 7.2 innings in his first loss of the season (4-1). He walked six and struck out six. David Robertson went 0.1 inning with a strikeout.

The second game of the series is Saturday at 2 pm and will be televised by CSS. Freshman left-hander David Price gets his first career SEC start for the Commodores, while left-hander Brent Carter takes the mound for the Crimson Tide.


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