5-2 win earns Vanderbilt sweep over Auburn

NASHVILLE ­­-- Vanderbilt used a three-run first inning and got another solid start by sophomore lefthander Cody Crowell to defeat Auburn 5-2 in front of 1,740 fans Sunday afternoon at Hawkins Field.

The Commodores swept the three-game series over the Tigers for the first time in school history. They improved to 17-7 overall and are 5-1 in SEC play, tying the school record for the best conference start set back in 1980.

"To sweep any conference opponent, you have to be playing somewhat well," said Vanderbilt head coach Tim Corbin when asked about his team's performance this weekend. "When you win 11 out of 12 games, you start to feel like that is what you are supposed to do. Hopefully this will carry over, because we have a long way to go."

Crowell, who threw a complete game two-hit shutout last weekend at Ole Miss, was two-outs away from recording back-to-back complete games. He allowed two runs, one earned, on six hits with five strikeouts and no walks in 8.1 innings to improve to 3-0 on the year.

"I just tried to spot my fastball and follow the same plan as the two other starters this weekend (David Price and Matt Buschmann)," said Crowell. "They are a good team and it is tough to sweep a team, no matter who it is."

The Tigers fell to 12-15 and 1-5 in conference action.

Vanderbilt jumped out quickly to a 3-0 lead in the first inning. Brian Hernandez opened the scoring with a RBI single and was followed by a RBI double by Dominic de la Osa and a RBI single by Ryan Flaherty.

The Tigers got on the board in the second on a RBI single by Phillip Stringer.

VU tacked on two more runs in the seventh on Pedro Alvarez' RBI single and Brian Hernandez' RBI double to take a 5-1 lead.

The Tigers had a RBI double by Jeff Boutwell in the ninth to cut the lead to 5-2, before Ty Davis came in and recorded the final two outs to pick up the save.

Hernandez led the Commodores with a 4-for-4 showing at the plate with two RBI. Alex Feinberg also had two hits in the winning effort.

"I have been seeing the ball lately, I was just having a little bad luck," said Hernandez. "I found some holes and it ended up working out for me today and it felt good."

The Commodores will travel to Bowling Green to take on Western Kentucky on Tuesday at 6 p.m., and will then head to Gainesville to take on Florida next weekend.

Auburn      010 000 001- 260
Vanderbilt  300 000 20x- 5(11)0

Crawford, Thompson (6), Wiggins (7) and Donaldson. Crowell, T. Davis (9) and Robin. W- Crowell 3-0, L- Crawford 2-4. SV- Davis (1). HR- None.

VU Baseball Notes
 
Overall Record: 17-7
SEC Record: 5-1 Tied for first in the SEC East
 
Record In Week Six: 4-0
March 22- Vanderbilt 7, Belmont 0
March 24- Vanderbilt 2, Auburn 0
March 25- Vanderbilt 9, Auburn 1
March 26- Vanderbilt 5, Auburn 2
 
This Week For Vanderbilt:
March 28- Western Kentucky, 6 p.m.
March 31- Florida, 5:30 p.m. CT
April 1- Florida, 3 p.m. CT
April 2- Florida, Noon CT (SUN TV)
 
Top Performers for Week
 
David Price       POS: LHP          HT:6-6  WT:215           CL:SO   Hometown: Murfreesboro, TN
Price pitched the game of his young career, throwing a complete game one-hit shutout in Vanderbilt's 2-0 win over Auburn Friday night. The lone hit was by the second batter of the game and after that he did not allow a hit or a base runner past first base the rest of the contest. Price struck out 11 and walked two while throwing 109 pitches. It was his first career complete game and his third straight victorious start to improve to 3-2 on the year. He leads the SEC with 65 strikeouts to only 13 walks in 41.1 innings this season. In two SEC games he is 2-0 with 21 strikeouts and four walks in 16 innings and has allowed just six hits (.107 opponents batting average).

Brian Hernandez   POS: C HT:6-1  WT:205           CL:SR   Hometown: Wellington, Fla.
The Johnny Bench Award candidate was a driving force in the Commodores 4-0 week.  He went 8-for-15 (.533) in the four games with three doubles and three RBI. His 4-for-4 day on Sunday propelled the Dores to the series sweep over Auburn. He was 7-for-11 (.636) against Auburn with three doubles.
 
Pedro Alvarez   POS: 3B     HT:6-2  WT:212           CL:FR   Hometown: New York, New York
Alvarez went 6-for-14 (.389) on the week with two doubles, two RBI and four runs scored. He was 5-for-13 (.417) with two doubles, and three runs scored against Auburn. He now leads the team with a .417 batting average, a homer, four doubles and five runs scored in six SEC games.
 
Notes On The Commodores For The Week:
Vanderbilt went 4-0 on the week and have now won 11 of their last 12 since starting the season at 6-6 ... The Commodores at 5-1 in the SEC are off to their best league start since going 5-1 in 1980. That year the team won the SEC tournament ... The team is winning with youth as eight of the nine position starters are underclassmen (6 Sophomores, 2 Freshmen) and two of the three weekend starting pitchers are sophomores (David Price and Cody Crowell) ... The lone upperclassmen seeing significant action are seniors Brian Hernandez and Matt Buschmann ... Buschmann recorded a career high 13 strikeouts in the win over Auburn on Saturday. He nearly doubled his previous high of seven set on multiple occassions in his four-year career ... Vanderbilt's pitching staff was superb in the four games last week and set a new school record with 38.2 innings of scoreless baseball. The scoreless streak was at 31 innings entering Saturday's game and was extended through 7.2 innings before it came to an end. The staff also recorded shutouts in three straight games to tie the school record set back in 2004 and 1971. ... The team ERA was 0.50 with 44 strikeouts and seven walks in 36.0 innings over the four games. Opponents just had 15 hits for a miniscule .122 batting average ... Vanderbilt leads the SEC in team ERA in conference games through this weekend's games ... The Commodore offense batted .331 on the week with 11 doubles and 23 runs scored in four games (nearly 6 per game) ... During the 11-1 stretch, the offense is hitting .344 with eight homers, 29 doubles and 86 runs scored, while the pitching staff sports a 2.67 ERA with 132 strikeouts and 29 walks in 108.0 innings ... Catcher Brian Hernandez (.533) and designated hitter Shea Robin (5-for-12, .417) led the club offensively over the week ... Ty Davis picked up his team leading fifth win of the year against Belmont on Tuesday and added a save in the series finale against Auburn on Sunday. He did not allow a run and gave up just one hit in 3.2 innings of work with four strikeouts ... All-American and SEC Pitcher of the Year candidate is 3-0 in his last three starts with a 0.78 ERA. He has struck out 36 batters and walked just five in 23.0 innings, while giving up just 10 hits during that span (.123 avg.) ... Vanderbilt plays its next five games on the road, its longest stretch away from home this season.

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