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2012 SEC Baseball Tournament
Game 8- Vanderbilt 3, South Carolina 2
Hoover, Ala. – Vanderbilt squeezed by No. 4 South Carolina Wednesday night in the second round of the Southeastern Conference Tournament with a 3-2 victory at Regions Park.
Vanderbilt (31-25) battled back to tie the game in the sixth inning and took the lead for the first time in the eighth on a gutsy call by Head Coach Tim Corbin. Vince Conde led off the eighth with a double into the left field corner before being moved over to third on Tony Kemp’s sacrifice bunt. Mike Yastrzemski then fell into a 1-2 count before dropping down a perfect suicide squeeze bunt to score Conde from third and put VU on top. Will Clinard recorded the final six outs of the game to seal the Commodores’ season-best seventh straight win.
The Gamecocks (39-16) jumped out to an early lead with two runs in the second inning thanks to a two-out rally. Grayson Greiner’s double to left field started the rally before a single from Kyle Martin and a hit batter loaded the bases for Tanner English, who smoked the first pitch he saw into left field to score Greiner and Martin.
The Dores jumped on the comeback trail in the fifth scoring a run to cut the deficit to one. Connor Harrell led off the frame with a double down the left field line and moved to third base on a deep fly out to center field by Chris Harvey before scoring on Conde’s sacrifice fly. Vandy tied the game in the sixth with a clutch two-out single through the right side by Spencer Navin to score Yastrzemski from second base. The Commodores had just five hits in the win with five different Dores contributing one hit each.
Kevin Ziomek (5-6) picked up the win out of the bullpen working two scoreless innings. The lefty worked out of a jam in the seventh when he walked consecutive batters with one out before getting LB Dantzler to fly out and Joey Pankake to ground out to end the threat. Clinard came on to notch his fifth save of the season working out of a tight spot with two runners on in the eighth by striking out Evan Marzilli and turning in a 1-2-3 ninth inning. Vanderbilt starter T.J. Pecoraro pitched five solid innings, keeping the Commodores in the game by stranding eight runners over his five frames. Tyler Webb (5-1) was pinned with the loss for South Carolina allowing two runs on three hits over four innings.
The win marks the second straight year Vanderbilt has topped South Carolina in the second round of the SEC Tournament, including last season’s 7-2 Vandy win. The Commodores are 18-6 in the team’s last 24 games with seven victories over ranked opponents.
2012 SEC Baseball Tournament
Regions Park • Hoover, Ala.
Game 8 • Wednesday, May 23
(5) Vanderbilt 3, (2) South Carolina 2
• With the win, Vanderbilt cuts into South Carolina’s all-time series lead at 49-23 and improve their SEC Tournament record against the Gamecocks to 6-3.
• Vanderbilt improves to 31-25 overall while South Carolina falls to 39-16. The Commodores will face Florida tomorrow night; the first game of the session will feature South Carolina and Auburn in an elimination game at 4:30 p.m.
• Vanderbilt’s SS Anthony Gomez came through with a hit in the first inning, his 82nd hit of the season to move him past Mississippi State’s Adam Frazier into fourth place in the SEC.
• South Carolina LF Tanner English’s bases-loaded 2-RBI single put South Carolina ahead in the second to give the Gamecocks the early lead. It was English’s fourth multi-RBI game of the season. He then picked up his second hit of the game in the eighth inning for his team-leading 20th multi-hit game.
• With a walk in the third, the Gamecocks’ Christian Walker has now reached base in 12 consecutive games. His three walks on the evening moves him to second in the SEC with 41 walks.
• Vanderbilt 3B Vince Conde brought home the first run of the game for the Commodores on a sacrifice fly. It was Conde’s eighth sacrifice hit of the season, which is tied for the team lead. He later led off the eighth inning with his fourth double in his last 10 games to bring his total to 11 on the season.
• A walk to South Carolina’s SS Joey Pankake extended his reached-base streak to 15 games.
• South Carolina SP Jordan Montgomery had one of his best outings as a starter as he pitched five complete innings while only allowing one run on two hits and striking out five.
• Vanderbilt’s Mike Yastrzemski came through with a suicide squeeze with two strikes in the eighth to put his team ahead and drove in his 34th RBI of the season, second on the team.
• Kevin Ziomek of Vanderbilt made his fourth relief appearance this season as he pitched two complete innings while giving up no hits and walking two. He earned his ninth win of the season.
• Vanderbilt’s RP Will Clinard picked up his fifth save of the year.
• For the Commodores, it is their 13th come from behind win this season.
Vanderbilt Head Coach Tim Corbin
On Yastrzemski’s game-winning squeeze play…
“I thought that it was the right play at the right time. It was a very good breaking ball to Mike [Yastrzemksi]. He was confident and we felt like it was something that we could do. Our kids are pretty skilled at bunting. We spend a lot of time on it. Coach [Josh] Holliday and Coach [Larry] Day spend a lot of time with the kids bunting. We figured that he [Yastrzemski] could put it down in that situation. He is a gutty kid. We believed that he could get it done. We have done that before, in the past a couple of times. It is really the timing of it. It is not something that you want to go the bank with all of the time, because it is high risk and sometimes high reward.”
Mike Yastrzemski (Jr., RF)
On his bunt squeeze play…
“We always practice it. When we go into BP, we go out and have extended bunting before practice. It is all about wanting to be in that situation and not being scared to be put in that situation. Confidence and thought, those two words go together. When you start winning and having fun, that builds confidence. If you practice a play so often, there is nothing to be scared of. It is almost an automatic run when you practice it so much. When you know that you can get the ball down in a soft spot, there is no need to try and do a lot. You just need to put the ball on the ground and have confidence that it will work.”
South Carolina Head Coach Ray Tanner
On the suicide squeeze…
“It was a great play. It really was. I’d have to look at it again, but I’m not sure it was an easy pitch to bunt. It looked it was a breaking ball down and away, and it could’ve been fouled off. He did a great job of getting that ball on the ground. It was a great play on Vanderbilt’s part, and it looked like a good pitch on (Tyler) Webb’s part.”
On if he was surprised Vanderbilt ran the play with two strikes…
“Absolutely. I think I’ve done that one time in my career. You don’t see that very often. It was a great play on their part. (Mike Yastrzemski) got the ball down and they ended up getting a big run out of it. We had some opportunities. We had some runners out there and kept waiting for another hit. Tanner (English) got a big hit to drive in two, and we kept waiting to get another one. They did a great job on the mound and we never came up with a big hit.”
On the offense being limited…
“It’s difficult. Vanderbilt does a great job with their pitching staff. Those guys got some big outs. It’s not all about our players not executing. That’s some of it because we had some runners, but they did a good job pitching in some close situations.”