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Sunday April 5, 2009Vanderbilt's Rally Sinks Baseball, 16-9

Nashville, Tenn.

Vanderbilt (19-12/5-7 SEC) overcame a 9-2 deficit with 14 consecutive runs to hand No. 19 Florida (19-11/7-5 SEC) a 16-9 setback on Sunday afternoon at Hawkins Field. The Commodores plated two runs in the sixth and five in the seventh before snapping a 9-9 tie with seven unearned runs on two hits and two errors in the eighth to claim the weekend series. Freshman Sonny Gray (2-0) recorded three strikeouts and allowed one hit over two innings to pick up the win after saving Saturday’s game.


With the contest deadlocked at nine runs apiece in the eighth, junior Billy Bullock (Balm, Fla.) (0-2) struck out freshman Riley Reynolds (3-for-6) and then permitted a single up the middle by sophomore Steven Liddle (2-for-5, three runs). Following a walk to sophomore Curt Casali (3-for-4, three runs, three RBI), sophomore shortstop Josh Adams (Jacksonville, Fla.) committed his second error of the day on junior Andrew Giobbi’s (2-for-5, three runs) grounder to allow Liddle to score. A passed ball by junior catcher Hampton Tignor (Sarasota, Fla.) pushed both runners into scoring position and a walk to sophomore Alex McClure loaded the bases. Freshman Greg Larson (Longwood, Fla.) entered the game for Bullock (0.2 IP, 2 H, 4 R, 2 BB) and surrendered a sacrifice fly to freshman Jason Esposito that gave the Commodores an 11-9 edge. Following a walk to freshman Joe Loftus that re-loaded the sacks, Larson (0.1 IP) was replaced by freshman Alex Panteliodis (Tampa, Fla.). Adams booted senior Jonathan White’s ball that enabled Vanderbilt to score two more runs and junior Brian Harris belted a three-run homer to finalize the scoring at 16-9.


The Gators had grabbed a 2-0 lead with four hits in the second inning off sophomore Taylor Hill. Freshman Preston Tucker (Tampa, Fla.) (3-for-4, career-high five RBI, three runs) opened the frame with a towering homer into the right-field bleachers for his second round-tripper of the campaign. Senior Brandon McArthur (Seffner, Fla.) doubled and senior Teddy Foster (Jacksonville , Fla.) (2-for-3) followed with a single into left field with one down. Hill responded with a strikeout of freshman Jerico Weitzel (Ridgway, Pa.) before junior Matt den Dekker (Ft. Lauderdale, Fla.) (2-for-5) laced an RBI single into shallow right field to score McArthur. UF executed a double steal with Foster and den Dekker for two runners in scoring position but Hill fanned freshman Daniel Pigott (Ormond Beach, Fla.) to leave them stranded.


Helped by a damaging two-out error, the Commodores cut the deficit in half. Giobbi poked a leadoff double to left field and senior Stephen Locke (Tampa, Fla.) retired the next two hitters. Although the left-hander induced a ground ball by Loftus, Adams let it scoot through the wickets, allowing Giobbi to come across for a 2-1 score.


Vanderbilt evened the game at two runs apiece in the third on back-to-back two-out doubles by Liddle and Casali. Locke caught Harris looking on strikes for his season-high third K of the contest and then had Reynolds ground out to second base. Liddle doubled into left center and Casali delivered a long fly ball into center that dropped in for a two-bagger.


Junior Buddy Munroe (Miami, Fla.) began the fourth with a free pass and Foster was hit by a pitch with one down, ending the afternoon for Hill. Over 3.1 innings, the righty gave up five hits and two runs and notched four strikeouts. Sophomore Sean Bierman had a fielder’s choice by Weitzel force Foster at second and set down den Dekker on a grounder to end the stanza.


The Gators erupted for three runs on three hits in the fifth to seize a 5-2 lead. Pigott led off with a single through the left side and senior Avery Barnes (High Springs , Fla.) drew a walk to put the Gators in prime position. Pigott was thrown out at third base on Adams’ sac bunt attempt, but Tucker came through with base-knock into right field for a 3-2 Gator advantage. With Adams at third and Tucker at second following the relay throw to the plate, the Commodores replaced Bierman (1.0 IP, 2 H, 3 R) with sophomore Russell Brewer. Munroe was walked intentionally to load the bases with one down and McArthur lofted his first sac fly of the season to score Adams with the fourth run. Foster picked an opportune time for his first RBI of the season, as his two-out single into left drove in Tucker. 


UF built a 9-2 lead in the sixth on four hits, highlighted by a three-run jack by Tucker. den Dekker rifled a double into left off sophomore Richie Goodenow and Pigott legged out a bunt for runners on the corners. After Barnes was jammed on a pop up to second, senior Nick Christiani was summoned from the bullpen. Adams greeted the righty with an RBI single into left and Tucker cranked a three-run homer into the right-field bleachers for a seven-run cushion.  


Keating took over for Locke (5.0 IP, 5 H, 1 ER, season-high 6 K) prior to the home part of the inning and surrendered consecutive singles to Casali and Giobbi. McClure advanced his teammates with a groundout and Keating struck out Esposito. Loftus brought Vanderbilt to within 9-4 with a two-run single into right center.  


The Commodores battled back with five runs on five hits and a critical Florida error in the seventh to forge a 9-9 stalemate. Harris drew a leadoff walk that prompted a pitching change, as junior Tony Davis (Cooper City, Fla.) took over for Keating (1.0 IP, 3 H, 3 R). Reynolds welcomed the southpaw with a base-hit and a fielder’s choice by Liddle forced Reynolds at second but left runners on the corners with one down. Casali doubled down the left-field line off freshman reliever Anthony DeSclafani (Freehold, N.J.) (0.1 IP, 3 H, 3 R) to close the gap to 9-6 and a grounder by Giobbi pushed Casali to third. McClure stroked an RBI single to score Casali and another base-hit by Esposito brought Bullock in from the bullpen. The righty had Loftus tap a grounder to first that could have ended the inning but Tucker committed an error to load the bases. Soon after, White made the Gators pay with a game-tying two-run single.    


The Gators return home to meet Bethune-Cookman (15-15/5-1 MEAC) on Tuesday at 6:30 p.m. and will also entertain UCF (10-21/2-7 C-USA) on Wednesday night at McKethan Stadium.




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