April 22, 2007
NASHVILLE -- Vanderbilt's Ryan Davis came up with a walk-off, RBI single in the bottom of the ninth inning Sunday to lift the top-ranked Commodores past the Tennessee baseball team 7-6 and complete a three-game weekend sweep at Charles Hawkins Field. The Volunteers fell to 22-17 (6-10 SEC) with the loss.
Vanderbilt (35-8, 12-6 SEC) used a walk and a bunt single to put its first two batters on base in the bottom of the ninth. The Vols then brought sophomore reliever Aaron Everett to the mound for his second appearance in as many days. The Loudon, Tenn., native struck out the first batter he faced before Davis sent his game-winning basehit into right field.
Tennessee had the potential go-ahead run on third base with one out in the top of the ninth inning, but Vanderbilt closer Casey Weathers was unyielding. The right-handed senior recorded a pair of strikeouts to prevent the Commodores from facing a deficit in the bottom of the frame. Weathers earned the win to improve to 8-2. He notched saves in each of the series' first two contests.
After stranding a pair of runners in scoring position in the second inning, the Vols used a sacrifice bunt to once again put men on second and third with one out in the third. All-America catcher J.P. Arencibia was then intentionally walked, loading the bases for freshman first baseman Yan Gomes. A two-run single to centerfield by Gomes gave Tennessee its first lead of the series.
The Vols reloaded the bases later in the third to set up a three-run double by sophomore third baseman Cody Brown. Brown's two-bagger down the right line was his sixth double of the season and gave him his seventh multi-RBI game of the year.
Vanderbilt starting pitcher Stephen Shao was chased from the game after Brown cleared the bases, giving way to right-hander Nick Christiani after 2 2/3 innings of seven-hit ball.
Vanderbilt was quick to trim the Tennessee lead down to two runs when Pedro Alvarez hit a three-run homer in the bottom of the third. And with two outs in the frame the Commodores put two men in scoring position, prompting a UT pitching change that brought Jeff Lockwood to the mound for the second time in the series. Vanderbilt designated hitter Andrew Giobbi greeted Lockwood with a two-run single that tied the game at 5-5.
Things quieted down until the bottom of the fifth, when a wild pitch by Lockwood enabled Dores shortstop Ryan Flaherty to score from third to put Vanderbilt up by one, 6-5. It could have been worse for the Big Orange, however, as Vanderbilt stranded two runners in the inning.
Arencibia's fourth home run of the season couldn't have come at a better time for the Vols, as his solo blast to lead off the seventh inning tied the game at 6-6. It was Arencibia's 29th career homer, moving him into a tie for sixth place on UT's all-time list. It was also his 145th career RBI, tying him for ninth in UT's career records book.
Vols starting pitcher Lance McClain allowed five runs on six hits with two walks through 2 2/3 innings. Lockwood was tagged with the loss after giving up two runs on five hits with a career-high-tying five Ks through 5 1/3 innings.
Brown's three RBIs Sunday brought his season total to 26. He drove in 18 runs in 47 games as a freshman last year.
This weekend's series loss is UT's first in its last seven series against SEC Eastern Division teams. Tennessee now leads the all-time series with Vanderbilt 161-135-2, dating to 1897.
The Vols next travel to Johnson City, Tenn., to face ETSU Tuesday night before a Wednesday night contest at Wofford.