Baseball: Vanderbilt 12 Auburn 3

AUBURN-- Trailing 3-0 heading into the sixth, Vanderbilt's offense erupted scoring 12 runs over the final four innings as the Commodores went on to a 12-3 win over Auburn in Southeastern Conference baseball action Friday night at Plainsman Park.

VU won its fourth straight game and second straight SEC contest to move to 17-8 overall and 3-4 in league play. The Tigers lost their fifth straight SEC contest to fall to 16-9 overall and 2-5 in conference action.

The teams were locked in a pitcher's duel through the first four innings before the Tigers plated three runs in the fifth off of Mike Minor. Justin Hargett had a RBI single to break the shutout and then AU scored another run on a bases loaded catcher's interference call and a sacrifice fly by Joseph Sanders.

Other than the fifth, Minor (2-2) was outstanding on the mound, recording a season high 11 strikeouts in seven innings of work. He allowed three runs, two earned, on five hits and picked up his first win in league play this year.

"It was a huge win for us tonight," said Minor. "Last week we lost the first two and got just one, so tonight our goal was to take this one. I went after the hitters and I think I was able to throw four pitches today for strikes and that helped me tonight."

The Commodores rallied back with four in the sixth to take a 4-3 lead. Curt Casali walked with one out and advanced to second on Aaron Westlake's single. Andrew Giobbi then singled to center and advanced to second on the throw home to try to get Casali out. The throw was late and AU catcher Tony Caldwell over threw second trying to get Giobbi who was off the base. Westlake and Giobbi took advantage of the error to score and tie the game at 3-3. Joe Loftus followed with a single and moved to third on Jason Esposito's single. Drew Fann then reached on a squeeze bunt single that scored Loftus to give VU the 4-3 lead.

The Dores added three more runs in the seventh, the first via a homer by Steven Liddle, his third of the year. Curt Casali scored the second run when he stole home on a delayed steal as Auburn tried to get a runner out at second on a fake steal attempt. Jason Esposito plated the third run with a RBI single through the left side.

The hit parade continued in the eighth with three more runs coming in via a RBI single by Liddle and a two-run single by Aaron Westlake. VU closed out the game with two runs in the ninth on a RBI double by Brian Harris and a RBI groundout by Riley Reynolds.

Every Commodore starter recorded a hit in the 22-hit night. It was the most hits by a Vanderbilt team since notching 23 against Georgia in the 2007 campaign.

"We are a young team and it was good to see them hit tonight," said Vanderbilt head coach Tim Corbin. "I hope we can keep improving from where we are right now to the end of the year."

Several Dores had multi-hit games, led by Aaron Westlake and Jason Esposito who each had four on the night. Curt Casali and Joe Loftus had three hits apiece while Steven Liddle, Drew Fann and the returning Andrew Giobbi added two each.

Richie Goodenow pitched a scoreless eighth and Russell Brewer closed it out with a scoreless ninth to end the game.

The Commodores and Tigers will play the second game of the series Saturday at 3 p.m. Right-hander Caleb Cotham (3-2, 3.90 ERA) will take the hill for the Dores, while Auburn will counter with righty Jon Luke Jacobs (2-0, 4.97 ERA).

Vanderbilt  000 004 332 - 12(22)1            
Auburn      000 030 000 -  351
Minor, Goodenow (8), Brewer (9) and Fann. Dayton, Harper (7), Blatt (7), O'Neil (8) and Caldwell. W- Minor 2-2, L- Dayton 2-3. Sv- None. HR: VU: Liddle (3)

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