"Tonight was a real good win for our team," said Vanderbilt head coach Tim Corbin. "Sonny came out and held their offense down and we had some big innings at the plate. We got on the scoreboard right away and I thought that was big for us."
The Commodores took a 3-0 lead in the first inning as Aaron Westlake came through with a two-run single with the bases loaded and Connor Harrell added an infield RBI single. With one out Brian Harris was hit by UT starter Bryan Morgado, Jason Esposito reached on an infield single and Curt Casali was hit by a pitch to load the bases. Westlake hit a bloop single to left center to score two, Andrew Giobbi singled and Harrell reached on an infield single to score another.
Cody Stubbs solo homer on the first pitch of the third inning put the Vols on the board.
VU broke open the game with six runs in the fifth to extend the lead to 9-1. Brian Harris led off with a single, moved to second on a bunt and to third on an infield single by Curt Casali. Aaron Westlake was hit by a pitch to load the bases and Harris came in to score on a throwing error down to second base by catcher Blake Forsythe. Harrell had a two run single, Bryan Johns a two-run double and Anthony Gomez a RBI single to account for the scoring.
"We had some key hits tonight in key situations," added Corbin. "Connor Harrell and Bryan Johns recorded big hits tonight and from there Sonny took control of the game."
Bryan Morgado (2-5) allowed nine earned runs in 4.2 innings with four strikeouts and a walk.
Harrell finished the night 3-for-4 with three RBI, while every Commodore starter notched a hit on the night. Gomez, Casali, Westlake and Giobbi each had two hits in the win.
"Having Curt Casali back in the lineup does a lot of things for us offensively," said Corbin. The first thing he does is he watches a lot of pitches and he has a great presence at the plate. I think with him in the lineup that trickles down to the fifth, sixth, seventh and eighth hole. We knew all along that we had a well-balanced lineup just had to get it going."
Sonny Gray and Tim Corbin were ejected from the game in the eighth after Gray hit the leadoff hitter Zach Osborne. The ramifications of the ejections are pending official notice from SEC.
Will Clinard pitched the final two innings, walking two and striking out one.
The Commodores and Vols will play the second game of the three-game set tomorrow night at 6 p.m. CDT. Sophomore right-hander Jack Armstrong (5-1, 4.21 ERA) will take the mound for VU, while UT will throw senior right-hander Stephen McCray (4-3, 2.59 ERA).
Vanderbilt 300 060 100-10(15)2 Tennessee 001 000 000-133Gray, Clinard (8) and Giobbi, Fann. Morgado, Hochevar (5), Catapano (8) and Forsythe, Hamaker. W- Gray 6-4, L- Morgado 2-5. Sv- None. HR: UT: Stubbs (3)