Tide Rallies Late to Defeat 'Dores 5-3

NASHVILLE, Tenn.— Kent Matthes’ RBI single tied the game in the top of the ninth and Alabama then plated two runs in the top of the tenth to defeat Vanderbilt 5-3 Sunday afternoon at Hawkins Field.

The Crimson Tide salvaged the final game of the series to improve to 20-14 overall and 5-7 in league play, while the Commodores fell to 29-5 and 7-5 in league action.

VU held a 3-2 lead heading into the ninth when closer Casey Weathers hit Brandon Belcher to lead off the inning. Jake Smith then bunted Belcher to second. Emeel Salem lined out to left for the second out in the inning before Matthes lined a first pitch offering to right to score Belcher to tie the game.

Vanderbilt had the winning run at second base with two outs in the bottom half but Alex Feinberg fouled out to send the game into extra innings.

Alabama opened the 10th with back-to-back walks by Del Howell and Matt Bentley. Jeff Texada then sacrificed both runners into scoring position. Greg Paiml then grounded to first base on a drawn in infield and Brad French threw home to get the runner out at the plate for the second out in the inning. Bentley and Paiml then pulled off a double steal with Bentley sliding in for the go ahead run. Brandon Belcher then had an infield single and Paiml scored the insurance run to make it 5-3.

The Commodores last attempt in the 10th fell short as Dominic de la Osa and Ryan Flaherty both struck out with two runners on base to end the game. The Commodores finished the game with 16 men left on base.

“I’d have to look back but seven of the innings we played today we had men in scoring position and had opportunities to expand the lead and we didn’t,” said Vanderbilt head coach Tim Corbin. “And then you think about how you lost it and what led to losing it. Two walks and then the next thing you know they scored two runs. It’s a tough way to lose but we gotta eat it now.”

Austin Hyatt (3-1) pitched 3.1 innings of three hit scoreless relief to pick up the win, while Weathers gave up three runs on two hits with two walks and a strikeout to drop to 5-2 on the year.

Alex Avila’s solo homer in the second staked the Crimson Tide to a 1-0 early lead.

The Commodores plated two runs in the fourth to take a 2-1 lead. Matt Meingasner led off with a single and moved to second on a groundout by Ryan Davis. Shea Robin then came through with a RBI double to left center and scored himself on a RBI single by Alex Feinberg.

The Tide threatened in the fifth with a bases loaded situation and one out, but Nick Christiani was able to strike out Kent Matthes and got Avila to ground out to first to end the threat.

Alabama threatened again in the seventh when Brandon Belcher led off with a single and stole second. Christiani struck out Jake Smith, before Stephen Shao came on in relief and induced a pop up by Emeel Salem and a fly out by Kent Matthes to end the inning.

Christiani gave up one run on five hits in 6.1 innings with six strikeouts and five walks.

Dominic de la Osa made it 3-1 in the seventh with a solo homer, his second round-tripper of the weekend, and eighth of the year.

“Sunday is a hard game to win,” said de la Osa. “No one wants to get swept. We want to sweep obviously but at the same time, just come on and play our hardest. It’s just a game and we’ve got to forget about the first two games and come out and get this one.”

Avila hit his second homer of the day in the eighth to cut the lead to 3-2.

The Commodores will take on Belmont on Wednesday at 6 p.m. at Hawkins Field.

Alabama 010 000 011 2 -5 8 0
Vanderbilt 000 200 100 0 -3 12 2

Hunter, Hyatt (7) and Rhoden. Christiani, Shao (7), Weathers (9) and Robin. W- Hyatt 3-1, L- Weathers 5-2. Sv- None. HR- UA: Avila 2(7) VU: de la Osa (8).