Vanderbilt Finishes Incredible Tournament Run with SEC Championship



HOOVER, Ala. — Vanderbilt jumped out to a 4-0 lead in the first inning en route to a 7-4 win over Arkansas to capture its first Southeastern Conference tournament title since 1980 Sunday afternoon at Regions Park.

The Commodores became the first team ever to lose the first game of the tournament and rebound to win five straight since the tourney went to the current format in 1996. It was the first time a SEC team won both the regular season and tournament title since Alabama did it in 1996.

“On the bus over here today I told the team how much I thought of them,” said Tim Corbin. “It takes a special team makeup to do what we did, to be the first team in SEC history to come back like that.”

The Commodores came out quickly with four runs in the top of the first inning. Dominic de la Osa and Ryan Flaherty both had RBI doubles for the first two runs, while Shea Robin added a sacrifice fly RBI and Parker Hanks came through with a RBI single.

Arkansas used the long ball to get back into the game with a leadoff homer by Jake Dugger in the bottom of the first and a two-run shot by Danny Hamblin to make it 4-3.

The Dores added some breathing room with two runs in the seventh to make it 6-3. The first run came on a RBI grounder by Matt Meingasner while Shea Robin added a RBI single for the other run.

The Razorbacks got one run back in the bottom half on a RBI single by Casey Coon to make it 6-4.

The hit knocked VU starter Tyler Rhoden (4-0) out of the game in his finest performance of the year. He tied his career high with 6.2 innings of work with six strikeouts. He gave up four runs on seven hits and also walked two in his first appearance since April 27.

The Commodores stopped one last Arkansas rally attempt with two outs in the bottom of the eighth as leftfielder Matt Meingasner threw out Matt Willard who was trying to score from second on a single by Wayne Hrozek.

Vanderbilt added an insurance run in the top of the ninth when Matt Meingasner tripled and scored on a sacrifice fly by Ryan Davis.

Brett Jacobson closed things down with 2.1 innings of two hit scoreless relief with two strikeouts to pick up his first save of the year.

Ryan Flaherty and Pedro Alvarez extended their hit streaks to 30 and 21 respectively on the day. David Macias, Alex Feinberg and Matt Meingasner each had two hits to help lead the way.

The Commodores will head home and will watch tomorrow’s NCAA selection show to find out the other three teams that will come to their regional next weekend. The show will be televised live on ESPN at 11:30 a.m. CT.

Vanderbilt 400 000 201 -7 12 0
Arkansas 120 000 100 -4 9 3

Rhoden, Jacobson (7) and Robin. Keuchel, Rhoads (2), Richards (7), McLelland and Walker. W- Rhoden 4-0, L- Keuchel 6-3. Sv- Jacobson (1). HR: ARK: Dugger (6), Hamblin (22)

2007 SEC All-Tournament Team
P Jess Todd, Arkansas
P Nick Schmidt, Arkansas
C Shea Robin, Vanderbilt
1B Danny Hamblin, Arkansas
2B Tony Delmonico, Tennessee
3B Pedro Alvarez, Vanderbilt
SS Ryan Flaherty, Vanderbilt
OF Dominic de la Osa, Vanderbilt

OF Casey Coon, Arkansas
OF Justin Henry, Ole Miss
DH Jeff Lockwood, Tennessee

Most Valuable Player
Pedro Alvarez, Vanderbilt