Baseball: Slow start dooms Vanderbilt

Mike McGhee's homerun in the bottom of the ninth propelled Florida State to a 9-8 victory over Vanderbilt in a game that featured 28 combined hits. McGhee's homer snuffed a valiant comeback by the Commodores, who rallied after falling behind early, 6-0, to the Seminoles.

It looked like it would be an easy victory for Florida State in the opening game of the Tallahassee Super Regional. The Seminoles pounded six hits on Vanderbilt's Taylor Hill to take an early 6-0 lead in the second inning. The Seminoles got off to a quick start, scoring two runs in the first and four runs in the second. Sherman Johnson's two-run homer made it 6-0 going after just two innings.

However, Vanderbilt would not go down easily. After failing to plate a run in the first three innings, Vandy came alive in the fourth. With one out, Curt Casali got the 'Dores their first run when he launched a shot over the right field fence.

In the Vandy fifth Gomez singled, followed by an Aaron Westlake base hit. Jason Esposito then lined to right to score Gomez and Westlake, making the score a more manageable, 6-3. Casali, who would finish the game with four hits, doubled home Esposito to narrow the score to 6-4.

Vanderbilt got off to a good start in their sixth when Joe Loftus lofted a homerun over the right field wall to put the Commodores within a run of the Seminoles at 6-5. Mike Yastrzemski then doubled with no one out. After Harrell struck out and a Harris flied out, Gomez singled to right to score Yastrzemski, tying the game at 6-6.

In the Florida State sixth, Vanderbilt's Hill, who had recovered nicely after the slow start, allowed leadoff walk and was replaced by Richie Goodenow. Florida hit into a double play and then Goodenow struck out the final FSU batter to end the inning.

In the Commodore seventh things got really interested. Esposito led off and launched a homerun over the left field wall to give Vandy their first lead of the day, 7-6.

Florida State got things going in their seventh when Sherman Johnson made one-out hit to right field. Mike McGhee followed with a blooper to right. A wild pitch then put runners at second and third. James Ramsey's sacrifice fly scored Johnson and tied the game at 7-7. With two outs, Vandy pulled Goodenow and brought Chase Reid in to pitch. Reid responded to the challenge by striking out Stephen Cardullo.

Yastrzemski opened the Vanderbilt eighth in style by launching a homer over the right field wall to allow the Commodores to re-take the lead at 8-7.

The Seminoles then tied the scored again when Jayce Boyd hit a solo home run over the left field wall.

In the Vandy ninth the Commodores managed to get a hit from Casali but that was all. Reid had retired the first two Seminole batters before McGhee's walk-off home run to end the game.

Vanderbilt falls to 45-19 while Florida State improves to 46-17. Vanderbilt is now 0-3 all time in Super Regional games. The two teams will play again at noon on Saturday (ESPN).
Vanderbilt    000 132 110-8(16)0
Florida State 240 000 111-9(12)0 

Commodores Daily Top Stories