May 17, 2013
NASHVILLE, Tenn. – Georgie Salem’s first hit of the series came at the perfect time, as he delivered a game-winning RBI single in the top of the 10th inning, as the Alabama Crimson Tide defeated the No. 1 ranked Vanderbilt Commodores, 5-4, on Friday night from Hawkins Field. With the victory, Alabama improves to 32-23 overall and 14-14 in Southeastern Conference play. With the loss, the Commodores fall to 47-7 overall and 25-3 in conference play.
Mikey White opened the 10th inning with his third hit of the game with a sharp single up the middle off Vanderbilt closer Brian Miller. After Andrew Miller was called out for runner’s interference on a sacrifice bunt, Chance Vincent was hit by a pitch to put runners on first and second. After a Kenny Roberts fly out, the Dores called on lefty Jared Miller to face Salem with two outs. In the lefty-lefty match-up, Salem hit a 2-1 pitch back up the middle that allowed White to score from second for the game-winning run.
“This was the biggest game of the year and the biggest win of the year for us,” Alabama head coach Mitch Gaspard said. “We felt like coming in her, a win would put us in great position to move on into the post-season play. This win is such a confidence booster for this team. We’ve played in so many games like this, against so many good teams, but haven’t been able to overcome. Tonight, we overcame.
After the Tide regained the lead, Alabama called on Ray Castillo to throw the 10th inning. After he retired the first two hitters, Spencer Navin singled with two outs, but Tony Kemp grounded out to second to end the game as Castillo earned his 10th save of the season. The Tide’s third pitcher of the night, Jay Shaw (1-1), threw a scoreless ninth inning, but had to pitch out of a jam to record his first victory of the season. Vandy closer Brian Miller (5-1) allowed a run on two hits in 1.2 innings of work to take the loss.
“It was big for Ray (Castillo) to work a clean inning,” Gaspard said. “It’s just a big win for our players and I’m happy for our players because they have fought and grinded all season long. Even with some tough losses, they continue to show up and play hard every day.”
Offensively for Alabama, White led the way with a 3-for-5 night that included a pair of singles, a double, two runs and an RBI. White has five hits in the series and is now batting .354 in 28 SEC games this season. With the three-hit performance, White has now hit in the last seven games.
Kyle Overstreet extended his hitting streak to eight games with a 2-for-4, one RBI performance, and Vincent has now hit safely in his last four games, following a 2-for-4 night with a run scored and an RBI.
Alabama starting pitcher Spencer Turnbull did not factor into the decision after allowing two runs on seven hits with four walks and three strikeouts in 5.1 innings. Justin Kamplain threw 2.2 innings, allowing two runs (one earned) on a hit with three strikeouts. Kamplain also hit two batters.
Vanderbilt starter Kevin Ziomek also had a no decision after throwing 5.0 innings, allowing two runs (one earned) on three hits with four walks and 10 strikeouts. Tony Kemp was 2-for-6, Mike Yastrzemski was 2-for-5 and Rhett Wiseman was 2-for-2 with a walk for the Commodores.
For the second straight night, the Commodores scored first, when Yastrzemski singled through the left side to drive in Kemp from second.
After a pair of strikeouts started the Bama third, Vincent got the first hit for the Tide when he singled through the right side. Roberts was hit by a pitch then Salem walked to load the bases, but Ziomek recovered to strikeout Overstreet to keep the Tide of the scoreboard.
In the bottom half of the third, the Dores extended their lead to 2-0 as Yastrzemski scored when Conrad Gregor grounded into a double play. Yastrzemski singled to open the inning then moved to third on a Connor Harrell single through the right side.
Bama got even in the fourth, scoring a pair of runs against Ziomek. The Tide loaded the bases with two walks and an error on a sacrifice bunt to open the inning. An infield single by White allowed Ben Moore to score the first run then on a fielder’s choice ground out by Vincent, Austen Smith scored the second run, tying the game at 2-2.
Vanderbilt threatened again in the sixth inning when it loaded the bases with two outs. But Alabama reliever Justin Kamplain struck out Kemp to end the inning and keep the score tied at two.
In the top of the seventh, Bama got a double by Vincent and a single by Roberts to open the inning off Fulmer. With runners on the corners and one out, Overstreet singled up the middle to plate Vincent to give the Tide a 3-2 advantage. Alabama couldn’t capitalize any further as Smith struck out and Booth popped out to end the inning.
The Tide added another run in the eighth inning to take a two-run lead. After White doubled to the left field gap to open the inning, Miller dropped a perfect bunt to move him to third with one out. After Vincent struck out, White scored on a wild pitch by Fulmer to make the score 4-2.
The Dores answered in the bottom of the eight with two runs to even the score at 4-4. After the first two hitters reached on a single and a hit batter, pinch hitter Andrew Harris moved the runners over with a sacrifice bunt. A ground ball to third allowed Conrad Gregor to score, but Roberts made throwing error on the play, which allowed Vince Conde to reach and put runners on the corners. Vandy bunted again, as Spencer Navin laid down a perfect bunt, allowing Kyle Smith to score the game-tying run.
Vanderbilt had the potential game-winning run at third base with two outs in the ninth, but Jay Shaw got Smith to fly out to right field to send the game into extra innings. The extra inning game marked the eighth of the season for the Tide, will all eight coming against nationally ranked opponents. The Tide is now 2-6 in extra-inning games this season.
Alabama and Vanderbilt will play game the final game of the series and of the regular season on Saturday, with first pitch scheduled for 1 p.m. CST from Hawkins Field. Alabama is slated to start left-handed pitcher Taylor Guilbeau (4-1, 2.80) and the Commodores will throw righty Tyler Beede (13-0, 1.73).
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