Thursday, February 22, 2007

Commanding Win against Lipscomb for the Commies

In contrast to the Commies dismal performance in Starkville (a recap soon to appear), the Commodores utterly dominated Lipscomb in the Cross-Town Throw-Down yesterday at Hawkins field, winning 16-7 and pounding out 17 hits.

The Commies, playing in front of a record February crowd of 1,925 fans, threatened in the first, but failed to score. The next inning began a rout where they went on to score 16 runs in 6 innings. "Offensively, we hit the ball pretty well and took advantage of some walks," VU head coach Tim Corbin said. "Any time you can score in consecutive innings like that, you stop any momentum changes that happen for the other team."

Mike Minor (pictured above), a Freshman, made his first career collegiate start, and pitched four innings of almost flawless baseball, blanking the Bisons. Minor struck out 8 and walked one before losing stamina in the fifth. He ended up giving up three runs on three hits and walked three. Tyler Rhoden (2-0) came on and pitched relief for 1.2 innings, giving up two runs on three hits and picked up the win. John King, the Lipscomb starter recorded the loss, giving up six runs (3 unearned) on seven hits and three walks. He struck out 5.

The onslaught began in the second when a Bison error (one of three on the day) on a Pedro Alvarez ground ball allowed three unearned runs to score. David Macias added to an RBI single to make it a quick 4-0.

In the fourth, the Commies tacked on four more runs off a lead-off home run by Ryan Flaherty and a two-run home run by Dominic de la Osa. Macias added a sac fly to account for the final run of the inning.

Lipscomb, who came back to upset SEC rival Auburn earlier this season, battled back and made it a game in the fifth scoring five runs to make it 8-5 on the scoreboard. The Commies never let the inning affect them, answering with 2 runs in the bottom of the frame. Alvarez hit his fourth home run of the season; an apparent laser to straight-away center and Brad French had a sac fly.

Vanderbilt added three more in the bottom of the sixth and seventh innings to account for the remainder of their scoring, while Lipscomb plated two meaningless runs in the top of the seventh.

Ryan Flaherty (at left) had an excellent afternoon, going 3-4 with one home run, a double, and two RBIs. Shea Robin and Dominic de la Osa had three hits of their own and Ryan Davis added two. Speaking on behalf of Flaherty in an interview by Will Matthew’s, Coach Corbin said, “I think he (Flaherty) is going to get pitches to hit batting behind Pedro, so he is just going to have to hit. It is what makes Pedro get pitches. If you don't have a guy like that (Flaherty) then Pedro is never going to get good pitches to hit.”

Pedro Alvarez sure likes Flaherty hitting behind him, "He is a very good gap hitter. If I get on and then he puts one in the gap, then we are all going to score. And if he keeps doing that, then I think this team is going to be very successful."

Casey Weathers, the Commie Closer, came on in the ninth and struck out the side.

With yesterday’s performance, Flaherty is now hitting .462 on the season, 12 hits and 9 RBIs. Alvarez is batting .419 with 13 hits, and leads the team in home runs (4) and RBIs (10). His slugging percentage is still off the charts at .935. Vanderbilt raised it’s team batting average to .352 with yesterday’s offensive display.

Mike Minor raised his strike out total to 10 with yesterday’s outing and is tied for second with starter Brett Jacobson behind team leader David Price who has 18.

Vanderbilt hosts the Music City Classic this weekend that includes Pittsburgh, Ball State, and Boston College. If you’re in Nashville, you have no reason not to go. Tickets are ONE DOLLAR.

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