May 20, 2011
ATHENS, GA.-----Third-ranked Vanderbilt defeated Georgia 9-3 on Friday to gain a split in the SEC series in front of a crowd of 2,295 at Foley Field.
Georgia sophomore left-hander Alex Wood gave up a run in the first, walking leadoff batter Tony Kemp and allowing a steal of second on a failed pickoff attempt. Two batters later, Aaron Westlake’s RBI single gave the Commodores a lead they would not relinquish. The Commodores (43-9, 21-8 SEC) extended their lead in the second, fueled by four straight hits including a two-run homer by Connor Harrell to right-centerfield.
The Bulldogs (28-27, 16-13 SEC) struck back in the bottom of the second when junior Carson Schilling scored on a wild pitch after reaching on a double earlier in the inning. The following inning, the Bulldogs added two more with a solo home run by junior Zach Cone, his third of the season, and a RBI single by Schilling. The surge forced an early exit by Grayson Garvin, by far his shortest outing of the season.
Wood settled down for the next four innings, allowing no runs and posting five strikeouts. Meanwhile, the Bulldogs offense failed to capitalize on several opportunities, stranding two runners in the fourth and another in the sixth. Garvin allowed three runs on four hits with five walks and four strikeouts. Meanwhile, the Vanderbilt bullpen tandem of T.J. Pecoraro and Kevin Ziomek blanked the Bulldogs over the final 6.1 innings. Pecoraro picked up the win to move his record to 7-0 while Ziomek pitched the final three innings for a save. Wood dropped to 4-7 after allowing seven runs on 11 hits in 6.1 innings.
In the top of the seventh, Vanderbilt broke the game open with a two-run single by Mike Yastrzemski, ending Wood’s night. After a short stint by sophomore Earl Daniels, junior Chase Hawkins allowed one more run on a RBI double by Jason Esposito. Curt Casali’s two-run blast to left in the bottom of the eighth marked the final runs of the contest.
“Vanderbilt is a great team that is very deep,” Georgia coach David Perno noted. “They will break you down if you don’t take advantage of your opportunities, and that’s what happened tonight.”
The rubber game of the series will be at 2 p.m. Saturday.