Vanderbilt Rallies Past No. 18 Georgia
Colby May's home run gave Georgia a 4-2 lead in the ninth.

Colby May's home run gave Georgia a 4-2 lead in the ninth.
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March 24, 2012

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NASHVILLE, TENN.-----Vanderbilt scored three unearned runs in the ninth to post a 5-4 walk off over No. 18 Georgia Saturday at Hawkins Field.

Trailing 4-2 going to the ninth, the Commodores (8-15, 1-4) took advantage of leadoff error by Curt Powell and four walks by closer Blake Dieterich to post their first league win of the year. The Bulldogs dropped to 17-7 overall, 3-2 in the SEC. Dieterich entered the game with a 3-0 mark and four saves including one in Friday's game but fell short in this outing.  Georgia finished 3-for-16 with runners in scoring position.

"I take the blame for this one; I didn't do a good job with our bullpen," said Georgia coach David Perno. "There are a couple of moves I didn't make after seven innings after Michael Palazzone gave us a great start. Also, we had so many chances offensively today to break it open and managed only four runs on 17 hits. We'll take a look at the lineup and we'll need to bounce back Sunday and try to win a road series."

Georgia  took a 1-0 lead in the second. Powell led off the inning with a base hit and stole second base when Conor Welton struck out. Vanderbilt freshman right-hander Tyler Beede struck out Brandon Stephens for the second out and then senior right fielder Peter Verdin smacked an RBI-single to right for a 1-0 advantage. The Commodores tried to answer in the bottom of the third. Centerfielder Jack Lupo reached with a leadoff single. During Andrew Harris' plate appearance, he stole second. Palazzone would strike Harris and Joel McKeithan out before Lupo stole third. Then, Palazzone struck out leadoff hitter Tony Kemp to maintain the edge.

Georgia missed a scoring chance in the top of the fourth. Powell led off with a base hit and with one out went to third on a bloop double by Stephens. Beede escaped the jam on two pitches, getting Verdin and Levi Hyams to fly out. Vanderbilt tied the game in its half of the fourth. Anthony Gomez reached with a one-out double and came home on a bloop single by first baseman Conrad Gregor. The Commodores had a chance for more with two on and two out, but on a double steal attempt, Lupo was called out for batter's interference to send it to the fifth tied at 1-all.

In the sixth, Georgia put runners at the corners with two out for the hot-hitting Powell. However, Bede notched his career-high eighth strikeout to end the threat. Palazzone pitched out of trouble in the bottom of the inning. Andrew Harris smacked a leadoff double and went to third on a sacrifice bunt by Joel McKeithan. Palazzone recovered to strike out the next two Commodores to give him six for the contest. Vanderbilt turned to its bullpen in the seventh with freshman left-hander Jared Miller. Beede scattered one run on eight hits with one walk and eight strikeouts. Georgia had a chance off Miller as Welton and Stephens reach on base hits. Verdin failed to get a bunt down, striking out. Miller struck out Hyams and got Nelson Ward to bounce out. At that point, the Bulldogs had 10 hits and were 1-for-10 with runners in scoring position. In the bottom of the sixth, Verdin made two nice running catches in deep right field to keep it 1-1.

The Bulldogs finally broke through with another hit with runners on in the seventh. Georgia loaded the sbases with one out when Welton notched a two-run single up the middle off left-hander Steven Rice to make it 3-1. Vanderbilt turned to T.J Pecorarro who made his season debut. His freshman campaign ended with an elbow injury versus Georgia last year but not before he went 7-0 with a 1.59 ERA. On Saturday, he got Vanderbilt out of further trouble.

Vanderbilt made it a one-run affair when it pushed a run across in the eighth. Kemp reached when he was hit by a pitch. Navin executed a hit-and-run to get him to third. Georgia lifted Palazzone in favor of Earl Daniels. Navin was thrown out trying to steal second. Gomez's sacrifice fly scored Kemp to make it 3-2. After Mike Yastrzemski knocked a single, the Bulldogs turned to closer Blake Dieterich. He gave up a base hit to Gregor as Yastrzemski raced to third. Third baseman Vince Conde stepped up and Dieterich struck him out to send it to the ninth. Palazzone provided the Bulldogs with seven innings, allowing two runs on six hits with two walks and seven strikeouts.

In the ningth, Georgia senior Colby May greeted Vanderbilt's sixth pitcher of the day, Will Clinard, with a towering home run over the green monster in left field for a 4-2 lead. It was the second home run of the year for May and the first allowed by Clinard. However, Vanderbilt rallied in the ninth to win it as Dieterich struggled with his control, leaving with the bases loaded and two outs after walking in the tying run. Georgia looked to redshirt freshman Jay Swinford. Gregor lined a game-winning single to right field to cap the rally. Clinard got the win to move to 2-1.

The start of the game was delayed two hours and four minutes due to rain. The series concludes Sunday at 2 p.m. EDT.

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