Vandy, Christiani eliminate South Carolina

Pedro Alvarez & Andrew Giobb (AP Photo/Butch Dill)

HOOVER-- Nick Christiani allowed just one run on five hits in 6.1 innings and Vanderbilt used two two-run homers to power past South Carolina 7-5 Friday afternoon at the SEC Tournament at Regions Park.

VU improved to 39-19 and eliminated the Gamecocks who fell to 38-21 on the year. The Commodores will face tourney nemesis Ole Miss tomorrow at 10 a.m. in the semifinal round and will have to beat the Rebels twice in order to advance to the conference championship game for the third straight year. It will mark the fourth time the two schools have met in the tourney since 2006.

Christiani improved to 6-3 on the year with four strikeouts and two walks. It was his longest outing in the three tourney appearances, besting the four innings he recorded against Tennessee a year ago today on May 23, 2007.

"The story for us was Nick's pitching," said Vanderbilt head coach Tim Corbin. "He was able to control the middle part of their order for the most part and we didn't allow any freebies."

The Commodores struck for two runs in the third to take a 2-0 lead. VU took advantage of two hit batters and a base hit to load the bases when Ryan Flaherty singled up the middle to score two runs. SC shortstop Reese Havens stopped the ball from going into the outfield, but David Macias was still able to score the second run from second base.

Phil Disher's solo homer in the fourth, his 18th of the year, cut the deficit to 2-1.

Andrew Giobbi's two-run homer in the bottom half extended the VU lead to 4-1. It was his third homer of the year and came after Steven Liddle singled up the middle to lead off the frame.

VU added three runs in the sixth courtesy of a RBI triple by Alex Feinberg and a two-run homer by Pedro Alvarez to make it 7-1. It was Alvarez' eighth homer of the year and 48th of his career, moving him one homer shy of the school record of 49 set by Scotti Madison.

Disher's second homer of the day, a three-run shot in the eighth, capped off a four-run inning to cut the VU lead to 7-5. Richie Goodenow came on with one out in the frame and struck out DeAngelo Mack for the second out. Russell Brewer then struck out Parker Bangs to end the inning and closed out the ninth for his seventh save of the year. It ties him with Casey Weathers for the fifth most saves in school history.

South Carolina    000 100 040 -- 581
Vanderbilt        002 203 00x -- 7(10)0
 

Cooper, Atwood (5), Todd (7) and Disher. Christiani, Reid (7), Goodenow (8), Brewer (8) and Robin. W-Christiani 6-3, L- Cooper 5-6. Sv- Brewer (7) HR: SC: Disher 2 (19) VU: Giobbi (3), Alvarez (8)

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