Stanford Rallies Past Vanderbilt in 10, 6-5

PALO ALTO, CA-- Vanderbilt surged to an early 5-0 lead but fell 6-5 to the Stanford Cardinal in 10 innings. Red shirt freshman Aaron Westlake and sophomore Alex Hilliard combined for five hits while Steven Liddle smacked two more as Vanderbilt opened its season against a Pac-10 team for the second consecutive year. Freshman pitcher Sony Gray also made his college debut and in impressive style.

After a scoreless first inning Vanderbilt got things going in the second with a Steven Liddle single to right. Alex Hilliard then doubled home Liddle to put the men in Black and Gold up, 1-0. Freshman second baseman Riley Reynolds then singled home Hilliard to make it 2-0.

The third inning was also good for Vanderbilt as the Commodores built a sparkling 5-0 lead. After Andrew Giobbiand Curt Casali singles, third baseman Aaron Westlake picked up two RBIs when he singled to center field to score Giobbi and Casali. Liddle then singled to left to score Casali.

After being shut out the first three innings by Vanderbilt's Mike Minor, Stanford managed a score in the fourth when the Cardinal took advantage of two Vandy errors to score Brent Milleville.

A scoreless fifth inning preceded an ugly sixth inning for Vanderbilt. Starter Mike Minor began to show signs of tiring after giving up a walk and a single to the Cardinal. Vanderbilt head coach Tim Corbin then replaced Minor with right handed Chase Reid. Reid struggled, giving up two hits and two walks as the Commodores allowed four runs in the inning to knot the score at 5-5.

Vanderbilt freshman pitcher Sonny Gray entered the game in the seventh inning and recovered nicely after his first college pitch, to Milleville, was drilled hard back to him for a single. Stanford and Vandy both failed to score in innings seven through nine. In the 10th Westlake reach on a single but Jason Esposito hit into a double play and Liddle flied out to end the inning.

Gray, who struck out three and allowed three hits in three innings of work, was replaced in the tenth by Drew Hayes. Hayes then walked Jake Schlander in the Cardinals first at bat. A bunt by Colin Walsh advanced Schlander to second. A fly to center then moved him to third. Toby Gerhart then singled to left, center field to score the winning run for Stanford (1-0).

Despite a tough loss, Vanderbilt head coach Tim Corbin was happy with the performance of Hilliard, "I thought he did well. He's just deserving of playing well and having good performances. He's prepared for this moment for three years so it's not something that I'm surprised about."

Corbin also glowed over Gray's first performance on the mound, "Sonny is only a freshman academically; he's not a freshman in his mind. Anyone that has been around that child for 18 years understands what his is. You don't do what he does and go through what he's gone through, he's just not a freshman."

Reliever Jordan Pries picked up the win for Stanford while Drew Hayes drew the loss for the Commodores. Stanford starter Jeffrey Inman recovered after is second and third inning struggles and pitched seven innings, giving up five hits and just one walk. Vanderbilt's Minor pitched 5.2 innings and allowed three runs and two walks.

Because of forecasts of rain in the Bay Area, Vanderbilt (0-1) and Stanford will now play a double header on Saturday. The first game starts at 2 p.m. CST and the second follows at 5:30 p.m. CST. If the weather allows, Vanderbilt hopes to play Cal at 3 p.m. CST on Sunday. If that game cannot be played then the two teams will attempt to play on Monday at 3 p.m. CST.

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