Sunday, April 13, 2008

Vandy baseball sweeps Bulldogs

Earlier last week, pitching coach Derek Johnson sounded optimistic about the Commodores' chances, even after being swept by Ole Miss and falling to last place in the SEC East.

"The first half sometimes is inconsistent," he said. "It’s not what you want it to be, but if you have a good plan, which they do, and you work at it, which they do, then consistency can come. In the second half, that’s what we’re looking for."

Vanderbilt certainly got it this weekend, sweeping all three games at Mississippi State for the first time since 1914. It was also the Commodores' first Southeastern Conference road sweep since 1993. They are now 24-10 overall, 8-6 SEC, and hitting their stride at the perfect time.

Vanderbilt outscored the Bulldogs 31-8 in the first two games of the series before holding on for a 4-3 victory Sunday afternoon.

Starter Nick Christiani pitched seven strong innings, giving up two runs on three hits while striking out 10, and the Commodores held a 4-2 leading heading into the ninth.

Mississippi State cut the lead to 4-3 and loaded the bases with one out when redshirt freshman Richie Goodenow came on to strike out Ryan Collins, who had homered earlier. The Commodores then turned to Russell Brewer, who calmly fanned designated hitter Jason Nappi on a 3-2 pitch to end the game and pick up his third save of the season.

"I think it started after Sunday's game," said coach Tim Corbin when asked about the sweep and 5-0 week. "We just plotted out what we needed to do and take it game by game. I think the midweek was the difference because we really played well. When we came back from the 7-3 deficit on Friday night, I thought that was the pivotal point of the weekend."

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