Cotham blanks MTSU as Vanderbilt remains alive in regional

Sunday, May 31, 2009 at 5:31pm
Staff reports

LOUISVILLE – Caleb Cotham allowed four hits in a complete game as Vanderbilt avoided elimination at the Louisville Regional with a 6-0 victory over Middle Tennessee State on Sunday.

It was the Commodores’ second straight shutout and it extended to 20 their streak of consecutive scoreless innings in the tournament.

They will put that streak on the line almost immediately when they face host Louisville at 6 p.m. Sunday.

With a victory, Vanderbilt (36-26) will force a decisive 6 p.m. Monday contest with the Cardinals (46-15) in which the winner will advance to the Super Regional. With a loss, VU will be eliminated, and Louisville will win the regional and advance

MTSU (44-18), which defeated the Commodores 5-4 in the opening game of the weekend, lost its second straight and was eliminated.

Cotham allowed three singles and a double, did not walk anyone and struck out eight. He retired 11 straight following Stuart Meinhart’s single in the fifth and allowed only one runner to advance beyond second base.

Aaron Westlake and Jonthan White each had home runs for Vanderbilt, which was limited to three hits through seven innings by Blue Raiders’ pitchers Chad Edwards and Justin Guidry.

Westlake put the Commodores in front to stay with a one-out, solo shot in the second. He also had an eighth-inning double and was the only player for either team with multiple hits.

White made it 4-0 when he followed Brian Harris’ leadoff double with a two-run blast in the eighth.

(All times CDT)

Game 1: 3 Middle Tennessee State 5, Vanderbilt 4
Game 2: Louisville 8, Indiana 2.

Game 3: Vanderbilt 10, Indiana 0 (Indiana eliminated)
Game 4: Middle Tennessee State vs. Louisville, 6 p.m.

Game 5: Vanderbilt 6, Middle Tennessee 0 (MTSU eliminated)
Game 6: Louisville vs. Vanderbilt, 6 p.m.

Game 7: Vanderbilt vs. Louisville, 6 p.m., if necessary