The Commodores (43-9, 19-7 SEC) clinched at least a share of the SEC Eastern Division title with the win. It is the first time since 1974 VU has achieved the feat. They can claim the division title outright if South Carolina were to lose tonight against Tennessee or with a win tomorrow over Auburn.
The game was halted before the start of the 10th due to lightning in the area and resumed an hour and 30 minutes later.
Davis led off the tenth with a double to right-center and advanced to third on a sac bunt by Brad French. Shea Robin grounded out for the second out in the inning and then Davis scored on a pitch that got past catcher Josh Donaldson and to the wall behind home plate.
“R.D.’s (Ryan Davis) hit was big as was the bunt by French to move him over,” said Vanderbilt head coach Tim Corbin. “Sometimes you would rather be lucky than good and the ball got away from the catcher and allowed us to score.”
Auburn rallied from a 5-3 deficit with two runs in the bottom of the ninth to send the game into extra innings. VU reliever Casey Weathers replaced Ty Davis to start the inning and struck out the first batter he faced before giving up four consecutive singles including RBI hits by Josh Donaldson and Andy Bennett to tie it.
Weathers closed the game out with a 1-2-3 tenth to move to 10-2 on the year. He gave up two runs, his first in 11 innings (seven outings), on four hits with three strikeouts and no walks.
“It was kind of a momentum bust in the ninth, but Casey filled it up in the ninth to get the win,” said Corbin.
Ty Davis came in with the bases loaded and two outs in the fifth and the Commodores holding a 4-3 lead and induced a groundout to end the inning. He continued his stellar pitching of late, holding the Tigers scoreless for 3.1 innings with a walk and a strikeout.
“Ty was really, really good for the third week in a row,” said Corbin.
Mike Bianucci’s two-run homer staked the Tigers to a 2-0 lead in the first inning.
Pedro Alvarez led off the second with a solo homer, his 14th of the year to cut the lead in half.
Philip Stringer’s RBI double in the bottom of the fourth extended the Auburn lead to 3-1.
Ryan Davis started the rally with a single and moved to third on a double by Andrew Giobbi. Shea Robin brought in Davis with a RBI groundout and David Macias plated Giobbi with a RBI double to right. Auburn starter Taylor Thompson then hit Alex Feinberg and gave up a towering RBI double to Dominic de la Osa that was inches away from going over the 30-foot wall in left for a three-run homer.
The score remained the same until the ninth when de la Osa did connect on a round-tripper, this one to right to extend the lead to 5-3. It was his team leading 15th homer of the year.
“That home run by Dom kept us in the game and it was huge as it gave us a two-run cushion at the time,” said Corbin.
Dominic de la Osa had three hits and two RBI, while Pedro Alvarez added three hits of his own. David Macias, Ryan Flaherty and Ryan Davis each had two hits in the winning effort.
“It was a big win as we got the series but we have another one to get tomorrow,” said de la Osa. “Casey did a good job in the end and we were able to string one (run) together.”
Mike Minor gave up three runs on seven hits in 4.2 innings in the start for VU with five strikeouts and no walks.
The Commodores and Tigers will play the final game of the series tomorrow afternoon at 1:30 p.m. Junior southpaw Cody Crowell (2-1, 4.64 ERA) will take the hill for VU, while Auburn will counter with sophomore righthander Bryan Woodall (2-2, 4.81 ERA).
Vanderbilt 010 030 001 1 - 6(14)1
Auburn 200 100 002 0 - 5(12)2
Minor, T. Davis (5), Weathers (9) and Robin. T. Thompson, Hubbard (5), Dennis (8), Butts (10) and Jenkins, Donaldson. W- Weathers 10-2, L- Butts 1-2. Sv-None. HR- VU: Alvarez (14), de la Osa (15). AUB: Bianucci (14).
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