"The win was important because we didn't want to get swept by Middle Tennessee," said head coach Tim Corbin. "It was also important because we won it in a different manner than we have been lately and that is through pitching and defense."
Pedro Alvarez opened the scoring in the first with a RBI double down the rightfield line. He then scored on a two-run homer by Dominic de la Osa, his seventh of the year. De la Osa started in leftfield for the first time in his career and came up with a diving catch in left-center to open the game. He finished the game 2-for-4 with two RBI.
VU starter Cody Crowell held MTSU at bay with three innings of two-hit shutout baseball to move to 5-2 on the year.
Tyler Rhoden continued the shutout with three innings of one-hit relief with three strikeouts, before giving way to Cameron Betourne in the seventh. Betourne pitched a scoreless seventh, and recorded the first two outs of the eight before running into trouble.
Wayne Kendrick had a base hit to center and Michael McKenry walked to pave the way for Todd Martin to stroke a RBI single to cut the lead to 3-1. Both runners advanced a base as the throw back from the outfield was not cut off. Reliever Casey Weathers then came in with the tying run at second base and struck out Adam Warren to end the threat.
Ryan Davis had a RBI single in the bottom of the eighth to get the run back and Weathers closed out the ninth to pick up his first career save.
Shea Robin had a hit in his final at-bat to keep alive a 13-game hit streak.
The Commodores will close out the regular season on Thursday as South Carolina comes to town for a three-game set. The teams will play at 6 p.m. on both Thursday and Friday and at 1 p.m. on Saturday. Both squads are in a tie for third place in the SEC East with 14-13 records. Reserved section tickets are available through the Vanderbilt ticket office (322-GOLD).
Middle Tennessee 000 000 010-171 Vanderbilt 300 000 01x-4(11)1
Smalley, Sterritt (5), Reilley (7), Anderson (7), Horseman (8) and McKenry. Crowell, Rhoden (4), Betourne (7), Weathers (8) and Robin. W- Crowell 5-2, L- Smalley 1-3. SV- Weathers (1). HR- VU: de la Osa (7).