Baseball: Record crowd watches 13-inning win

NASHVILLE-– Senior third baseman Tony Mansolino hit a two-out walk-off RBI single down the first base line in the 13th inning scoring Brian Hernandez to lead #25 Vanderbilt to a 4-3 victory over #35 Alabama Saturday in front of a record crowd at Hawkins Field. Vanderbilt leads the series 2-0 with the final game scheduled Sunday at 1 pm. The Commodores are now 17-5, 3-2 in SEC action, while Alabama is 19-7, 3-2 in league play.

NASHVILLE-– Senior third baseman Tony Mansolino hit a two-out walk-off RBI single down the first base line in the 13th inning scoring Brian Hernandez to lead #25 Vanderbilt to a 4-3 victory over #35 Alabama Saturday in front of a record crowd at Hawkins Field. Vanderbilt leads the series 2-0 with the final game scheduled Sunday at 1 pm. The Commodores are now 17-5, 3-2 in SEC action, while Alabama is 19-7, 3-2 in league play.

The Commodores led 3-1 before Alabama scored one in the seventh and eighth innings to tie the game at 3-3. Junior left-hander Ryan Mullins entered the game in the eighth inning with runners at first and third. He forced pinch-hitter Matt Grooms to hit into a double play keeping the game tied at 3-3.

Junior second baseman Warner Jones led off the eighth inning with a double to center field but was thrown out at third when Mansolino reached on a bunt (fielder's choice). The Commodores then grounded into their own double play to end the inning. Alabama reliever David Robertson then retired 14 consecutive Vanderbilt batters, including the first two in the 13th inning. With two away, Hernandez drew a walk on a full count and moved to third when Grooms misplayed a Jones single to left field (Jones advanced to second on the error). Mansolino then took the first pitch down the first base line for the game-winning RBI.

Alabama had threatened in the 10th inning with runners on first and second with one away, but Mullins forced Charlie Lyons to hit into a double play to end the inning. Mullins then retired six consecutive ‘Bama batters. In the 13th inning, Emeel Salem reached on an error and moved to second when Morrow Thomley's bunt hugged the first base line for a single. Charlie Lyons then hit a sacrifice bunt down the third base line moving runners to second and third for one away. Matt Bentley then flew out to Matt Zeller in shallow left field and Salem was thrown out at home by Zeller to Hernandez to complete the double play and end the inning keeping the game tied at 3-3.

Mullins pitched the final 5.2 innings for the Commodores getting the win (3-0) in his first appearance since March 4. David Robertson went 6.1 innings in relief giving up the one run on four hits. Brent Carter started the game for the Crimson Tide and went 6.1 innings giving up three runs (three earned) on eight hits with five strikeouts and two walks.

Vanderbilt scored one run in the first inning when Jones drove in Rucker Taylor who reached on a walk and moved to third on a single by Hernandez. Antoan Richardson added one run in the fifth inning when he led off with a double and Mansolino scored in the sixth inning after he began the inning with a double.

Vanderbilt starter David Price went 6.0 innings giving up two runs (two earned) on three hits. He struck out nine and walked five in his first career SEC start. Jeff Sues, Cody Crowell and Ryan Rote also saw action from the Commodore bull pen.

Vanderbilt outhit Alabama 12-5 led by Taylor, Hernandez, Jones, Richardson and Mansolino with two each. The Commodores totaled three double plays in the contest.

Notes:

A stadium record crowd of 2,001 was on hand for the victory. The previous record was 1,875 vs Baylor March 12 (Saturday).
Vanderbilt numbered three double plays in the game.
The 13 inning game is the second extra inning game of the season for Vanderbilt. VU lost to Baylor, 9-4, March 11 in 13 innings.
Senior Matt Zeller registered an assist from the outfield for the second time this season. His throw to home plate in the 13th inning prevented an Alabama run. Last weekend at Mississippi State, Zeller had an assist from right field (to second baseman Jones) that saved a Bulldog run. Senior centerfielder Antoan Richardson made another diving catch to end the 9th inning for the Crimson Tide.
Ryan Mullins saw his first action since being reinstated to the team after being suspended indefinitely (the week of March 7) for a violation of a team rule. Mullins' last action was 6-2 win over Ball State March 4.
Junior right-hander Matt Buschmann (2-2, 1.95 ERA) is scheduled to take the mound for the Commodores Sunday.


Photos by Paul Levy, Vanderbilt Athletics.


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