May 16, 2003
Nashville, Tenn. - Cesar Nicolas' three-run double in the sixth snapped a 4-4 tie as the Vanderbilt Commodores posted a 7-4 win, snapping Tennessee's six-game winning streak in the first of three games before an all-time record crowd at Hawkins Field of 1,811. Game two is Saturday at 6 p.m. CT.
Despite the loss, Tennessee did not lose any ground in its race toward the Southeastern Conference tournament as both Arkansas and Alabama, teams the Vols are tied with, suffered losses in their series openers. The Volunteers dropped to 31-22, 13-15 in the SEC. Vanderbilt kept its tournament hopes alive as it improved to 25-26, 12-16 in league action.
Vol starter Ben Riley (3-6), who matched his career high with eight walks, survived one bases loaded situation in the fourth, but couldn't work out of another in the sixth as Nicolas laced a three-double off reliever Joey Andrews as Vanderbilt took the lead 7-4. Riley gave up all seven runs (four earned) on five hits in five-plus innings with two strikeouts.
Andrews worked another three scoreless innings at the bullpen extended its streak of scoreless innings in conference play to 24 2/3.
Jeremy Sowers (7-4), who won for the seventh time in his last nine starts, struck out nine in seven innings, allowing four runs (three earned) on eight hits. Jensen Lewis picked up his eighth save by working the final two innings, striking out two.
Vanderbilt struck for a run in the first on a Warner Jones single up the middle that scored Cesar Nicolas who reached on the second of three walks in the frame. Two base running errors cost the Commodores a chance to keep the inning alive. After drawing a lead off walk, Ryan Klosterman was doubled off first on a fly out to left by John Kaye. Then, Tony Mansolino was thrown out at home by Jordan Czarniecki trying to score on Jones' hit.
The first two Vols reached in the third on a single and walk before moving into scoring position on a balk. Czarniecki plated the tying run on a ground out by Javi Herrera, while Josh Alley scored on a sacrifice fly for a 2-1 lead.
A two-run three-base error by right fielder Chad LeGate and a sacrifice fly in the third gave the Commodores a 4-2 lead. Vanderbilt put two on base via the walk before Mansolino lined a shot to right that LeGate misjudged as the ball sailed over his glove and rolled to wall letting Kaye and Nicolas score. Mansolino then plated on Jones' sac fly.
After LeGate made up for his error in the sixth as he lined the game-tying hit up the middle scoring Nick Crowe following a sacrifice fly by Brian Cleveland, Nicolas laced a three-run double down the left field line as the Commodores regained the lead, 7-4, in the bottom of the inning.