"It was tough playing in this weather early, but we are used to it because we practice in the cold all the time," said Price of the mid 30 degrees weather at game time. "I was throwing three pitches for strikes tonight. I remember last year everything they hit was a laser to the wall, so I wanted to come back out tonight and do a good job."
The Commodores snapped a four-game losing streak to the Crimson Tide and improved to 28-4 overall and 6-4 in conference play. Alabama dropped to 19-13 on the year and 4-6 in SEC action.
Price and Alabama starter Miers Quigley were locked in a pitchers duel through seven innings before both teams threatened in the eighth.
Brandon Belcher led off the eighth with an infield single and Greg Paiml followed with a bunt to third that Pedro Alvarez threw wide of second trying to gain the force out. Both Belcher and Paiml advanced a base to second and third with no outs. Price got Salem to pop up to shallow left and then intentionally walked Jake Smith to load the bases. Pinch hitter Kyle Moore then struck out and Kent Matthes weakly grounded to Price to end the threat.
The Commodores plated three runs in the bottom of the eighth to break the scoreless tie. David Macias walked and advanced to third on a single by Pedro Alvarez. Macias then scored on a passed ball by Ryan Rhoden on a high pitch by reliever Tommy Hunter. Hunter then struck out de la Osa and intentionally walked Ryan Flaherty before giving up a RBI single to Shea Robin. Alex Feinberg then grounded out to second, scoring Flaherty from second to make it 3-0.
"I have never been on a team like this that no matter what happens in the game, we feel like we are going to win, we just don't know how it is going to happen," said Robin. "I was just trying to make something happen and put the bat on the ball," said the junior catcher of his RBI single.
Quigley (4-1) dropped his first decision of the year after giving up two runs on four hits in seven innings with four walks and four strikeouts.
Matt Meingasner led the Commodores with two hits on the night, while Belcher led Alabama with two as well.
"I thought opportunities to score in the game were minimal," said Vanderbilt head coach Tim Corbin. "It was a well pitched game by both kids and it was one of those games where one play or one swing was going to dictate the outcome."
The Commodores and Crimson Tide will play game two of the three game set tomorrow afternoon at 3 p.m. Freshman southpaw Mike Minor (4-0, 2.15 ERA) will take the hill for VU, while senior right hander Bernard Robert (4-3, 2.93 ERA) is slated to start for the Tide.
Alabama 000 000 000 -031 Vanderbilt 000 000 08x -351
Quigley, Hunter (8) and Rhoden. Price and Robin. W- Price 6-0, L- Quigley 4-1. Sv- None. HR- None