Jason Esposito led off the sixth with a singled, stole second and moved to third on Richie Goodenow's grounder to first. Pinch-hitter Riley Reynolds walked and then Alex Hilliard singled up the middle to score Esposito. Brian Harris struck out for the second out and then Steven Liddle singled to right to score Reynolds to tie the game. Curt Casali walked to load the bases before Aaron Westlake grounded to short. The second baseman wasn't covering second base allowing Westlake to reach safely while scoring Hilliard to give the Commodores a 5-4 lead. Joe Loftus then roped a double on Miles Ethridge's first pitch offering to score Liddle and Casali to extend the lead to 7-4.
Chase Reid (2-0) was stellar in relief pitching 4.1 innings of one-hit scoreless baseball. He struck out five and has now thrown 9.1 consecutive innings of shutout baseball over his last three outings.
"Chase was one of the only bright spots of the game," said Vanderbilt head coach Tim Corbin. "He is throwing strikes and being aggressive. He is attacking the hitter and the difference to me is he is a guy who catches the ball and gets back on the rubber, keeping everyone in the game whether it is the umpire or the defense. He is in attack mode all the time and that is the difference."
South Alabama took a 2-0 lead in the second on RBI singles by Derek O'Reilly and Clint Reynolds. David Doss' RBI single in the third extended the lead to 3-0.
The Commodores rallied in the third with two runs on Jason Esposito's double down the left field line. Steven Liddle walked to lead off the inning and moved to second on an infield single by Aaron Westlake. Esposito doubled with two outs in the inning to score both Liddle and Westlake.
USA added another run in the fourth on a RBI single by Zach Grichor to make it 4-2. That ended the day for Sean Bierman who gave up four runs, two earned, on eight hits in 3.2 innings of work with two strikeouts and a walk.
Steven Liddle, Jason Esposito and Alex Hilliard each had two hits to lead Vanderbilt, while Zach Grichor, Ryan Bohanan and Clint Reynolds each had two hits to lead South Alabama.
Miles Ethridge took the loss after giving up five runs on five hits in 3.1 innings of relief. He struck out four and walked three to drop to 0-2 on the year.
The Commodores close out a stretch of 14 of 15 games at Hawkins Field as well as a five-game homestand tomorrow against Belmont at 6 p.m. Freshman right-hander Navery Moore (0-0, 0.00 ERA) will get his first collegiate start on the mound.
South Alabama 021 100 000 - 490 Vanderbilt 002 005 00x - 7(10)3
LaGrow, Ethridge (3), Bailey (6), Byrd (7), Johnson (8) and Doss. Bierman, Reid (4) and Westlake. W- Reid 2-0, L- Ethridge 0-2. Sv- Hayes (2). HR: None.