Vanderbilt goes down, 5-2

It is Friday of the SEC Baseball tournament and that can only mean one thing, the loser leaves town. Within the loser's bracket, if you win you live to play another day. If you lose, you pack your bags and go home and hope to get a call for the NCAA tournament. The game between Florida and Vanderbilt was pushed back almost two hours due to rain in the area.

Shortly after midnight, Florida secured the win, beating Vanderbilt 5-2.

Jack Armstrong started on the mound for Vanderbilt and looked strong out of the gate, retiring the first six batters that he faced. In the 3rd inning, he committed a cardinal sin by walking the first batter. Ben McMahan then hit an infield single to the shortstop. After Cody Dent was hit by a pitch the bases were loaded. Nolan Fontana then grounded into a double play but the run scored from 3rd base.

Florida struck again in the 4th and 5th innings. Armstrong made a costly error in the 4th inning. With the bases were loaded, after a soft grounder down the 1st base line he threw the ball into right field while trying to make a play and gave Florida two runs. Then in the 5th inning, Armstrong walked Josh Adams, which was followed by a Preston Tucker home run that scored two more runs. Richie Goodenow was brought in after 4 1/3 innings and gave the Commodores 3 and 2/3 innings of scoreless relief, allowing 3 hits, 1 walk, and getting 3 strikeouts. Goodenow was then relieved by Drew Hayes in the 9th, after Nolan Fontana reached base on a single to right field. Hayes responded with a stellar performance, striking out the side in order to close the 9th.

Vanderbilt did not score until the 6th inning. After Brian Harris and Bryan Johns both walked to start the 6th, Jason Esposito flied out to left field. But Aaron Westlake responded with a double into deep left center field that plated Harris. Joe Loftus picked up a walk to load the bases but Andrew Giobbi hit into an inning ending double play. Vanderbilt hit into four double plays on the night.

Vanderbilt's only other run came in the 7th. Anthony Gomez hit an infield single in the hole at shortstop. After Mike Yastrzemski hit into a fielder's choice, cutting down Gomez at 2nd, Brian Harris roped a double down the left field line, which scored Yastrzemski.

Vanderbilt finished the night with nine hits, while holding Florida to seven hits. Bryan Johns, Aaron Westlake, and Anthony Gomez each had two hits on the night. Brian Harris also picked up his 34th hit by pitch, which ties the NCAA record. It was Florida though that made the most of opportunities, scoring two runs on a home run and scoring two more on the error by Vanderbilt.

Armstrong picks up the loss (7-3) and Florida's starter Hudson Randall (7-3) gets the win, while Steven Rodriquez picks up the save. The Commodores will return to Nashville now and wait until Sunday at 2:30 PM to see if their body of work is sufficient to host an NCAA Regional. All pairings for the NCAA tournament will be announced on Monday at 11:30 (CST) on ESPN. Vanderbilt should get a regional in Nashville as they have an NCAA RPI of 12 and have 41 wins. If Vanderbilt is this fortunate they will have to find more scoring offense. Coach Tim Corbin did shake up the order a bit on Friday to no avail. The 5,6, and 7 slots in the order went 1 for 11, and hit into 3 double plays. The season gets more serious now as the NCAA tournament approaches next week. The formula for success in that tournament may be for the Commodores to score at least six runs per game. When they do this, they are 32-1.

VandyMania.com Top Stories