Georgia Holds Off Vanderbilt 9-7

Georgia built an 8-4 lead but had to hold on over the final three innings to outlast Vanderbilt, 9-7, Saturday, March 23, at Hawkins Field.

The win, Georgia's second straight in the weekend series, improves the Bulldogs record to 11-5 overall, 4-1 in the Southeastern Conference. Vanderbilt slips to 13-6 overall and 2-3 in the league.   

Trailing 8-4 heading into the bottom of the seventh inning, the Commodores rallied for three runs highlighted by a two-RBI triple into the right-center field alley by left fielder John Kaye.  Kaye was one of six Commodores to register at least two hits against the Bulldogs.  He went 3-for-5 with a team-high three RBI.  Center fielder Karl Nonemaker was 3-for-4 at the plate with two RBI.  Third baseman Cesar Nicolas scored three times and was 2-for-4 on the day.  In all, Vanderbilt battters recorded 15 hits in the loss.

Vanderbilt tried to even the score at eight in the eighth.  Right fielder Worth Scott led off the frame with a double off the left field wall and advanced to third base after a sacrifice bunt by Nonemaker.  On the following play, shortstop Tony Mansolino flew out to Georgia right fielder Chaz Lytle who threw out Scott at home plate to end the threat.

Georgia added an insurance run in the ninth when Lytle single through the right side of the infield to score second baseman Darryl Blaze from second base.

Vanderbilt owned leads of 1-0, 3-2 and 4-2 through the first three innings of the game.  First baseman Sean Luellwitz hit an RBI double to left field, scoring Nicolas in the first.  After Georiga grabbed the lead in the second with a two-run inning, Nonemaker hit a two-RBI single through the right side of the infield to plate designated hitter John Prothro and catcher Jonathan Douillard, giving the Commodores 3-2 advantage.  Kaye's RBI-single in the fourth gave Vanderbilt a 4-2 lead.  

But the Bulldogs rallied off Commodore starter Jeff Little (4-2), scoring a run in the fourth and and plating three more in the fifth inning to chase the Vanderbilt senior.  The damaging blow in the fifth came off the bat of center fielder Darryl Blaze who smacked a bases-clearing three-RBI double to left field.  Blaze finished the game 3-for-5 with three RBI and a run scored.  Lytle was 2-for-2 with three RBI and second baseman Marshall Szabo went 3-for-4 with an RBI and three runs scored.

Georgia starter Bill Sharpton (3-0) pitched six innings while earning the win. He gave up eight hits, four earned runs and three walks.  Reliever Brandon Moorhead pitched the final three innings to register his third save of the season.  He surrendered seven hits and three earned runs.

Vanderbilt tries to avoid the series sweep Sunday at Hawkins Field. Game time is 1 p.m. CT.  The game will be broadcast on WNSR 560 AM in Nashville and can also be heard on Top Stories