Saturday May 14, 2011No. 2 Vanderbilt Squares Series With No. 5 Florida, 14-1
Junior Aaron Westlake (2-for-5, five RBI) blasted a grand slam as part of a six-run fifth inning and No. 2 Vanderbilt (42-7/20-6 SEC) banged out 18 hits to even its weekend series with No. 5 Florida (38-13/19-7 SEC), 14-1, on Saturday afternoon at Hawkins Field.
Junior left-hander Grayson Garvin (11-1) improved to 9-0 in league play by allowing one run on six hits, with six strikeouts over seven innings, and moved the Commodores back into first place in the SEC. The teams will play the rubber game of the series tomorrow at 2 p.m. ET.
Senior Bryson Smith (Watkinsville, Ga.) led off the third inning with his second homer of the season for a 1-0 lead for the visitors. The round-tripper landed in the right-field bleachers, came on a 0-2 count and was an opposite-field shot.
Vanderbilt countered with two runs on three hits in the bottom of the frame to take a 2-1 lead. Sophomore Brian Johnson (Cocoa Beach, Fla.) (7-3) retired the first six hitters of the contest before freshman Conrad Gregor (2-for-3, two runs, two RBI) began the hosts’ third at bat with his fifth double. After sophomore Connor Harrell (3-for-4, two runs) grounded out, senior Bryan Johns (2-for-2, two runs) tied the game with an RBI double off the wall in left field. A grounder by freshman Tony Kemp advanced Johns to third and sophomore Anthony Gomez (2-for-4, three runs) sliced a flare into left center that scored Johns. Gomez collected his sixth stolen base with two down and Johnson caught Westlake looking on strikes to end the inning.
Garvin set down five-straight Gators before sophomore Austin Maddox (Jacksonville, Fla.) (2-for-2) punched a two-out single up the middle in the fourth. Although junior Daniel Pigott (Ormond Beach, Fla.) was plunked for two runners aboard, the left-hander had redshirt sophomore Vickash Ramjit (Miami, Fla.) fly out to center field.
Junior Jason Esposito (3-for-5, two runs) started things off in the bottom of the inning with a base-hit into center field and was sacrificed into scoring position by sophomore Mike Yastrzemski (2-for-4). Johnson worked out of trouble by having senior Curt Casali pop up in foul territory before having Gregor fly out to center field.
Vanderbilt erupted for six runs on seven hits in the fifth, highlighted by a grand slam from Westlake, to expand its lead to 8-1. Harrell began the frame with a double to left field and Johns legged out a bunt single up the third-base line for runners on the corners. Kemp sacrificed Johns to second base for a couple of Commodores in scoring position and Johnson walked Gomez intentionally to load the bases with one down. The move back-fired when Westlake launched a 2-0 pitch that cleared the wall in right center for his team-leading 11th homer to give the Commodores a five-run cushion. Yastrzemski had an infield single to prompt a pitching change, as senior Matt Campbell (Tampa, Fla.) came in for Johnson (4.1 IP, 9 H, 8 R, 3 K, 1 BB). Gregor came through with a two-run, two-out double into left center to increase the margin to seven runs.
The Commodores tacked on two more runs on three hits in the sixth to build a 10-1 lead. Gomez tripled down the right-field line with one down, ending the afternoon for Campbell (1.0 IP, 3 H, 1 R, 2 K). Freshman Daniel Gibson (Lutz, Fla.) struck out Westlake and then a passed ball scored Gomez with the ninth run. After Esposito sent a double into right center, Yastrzemski stroked an RBI single into center field to bring across his teammate.
VU added four runs on four hits in the seventh for a 14-1 cushion. Gregor drew a leadoff walk and Harrell socked a double off the wall in center field before Reynolds punched an RBI single up the middle to plate Gregor. Kemp delivered a single to the edge of the grass at second base to bring in Harrell, prompting another pitching change, as freshman Keenan Kish (Worcester, Pa.) replaced Gibson (0.2 IP, 5 H, 5 R). A fielder’s choice by Gomez forced sophomore pinch runner Jack Lupo at second base and Westlake singled through the right side of the infield to score Reynolds. Gomez later came home on a wild pitch before Kish (1.0 IP, 1 H) had Yastrzemski ground out.
Freshman Kevin Ziomek tossed two scoreless innings to close out the game for the Commodores, who improved to 28-3 at home with the triumph. VU held an 18-6 advantage in hits. Freshman righty Karsten Whitson (Chipley, Fla.) (6-0, 2.26) will start Sunday’s finale for the Gators against senior right-hander Taylor Hill (4-0, 3.17).
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