Vanderbilt left two runners on base three times in the first four innings and never broke through in a 5-0 loss to Florida on Sunday in the Southeastern Conference baseball tournament championship game at Hoover, Ala.
“Their pitchers were keeping the ball down for the most part so I give them credit for that,” catcher Curt Casali said. “It wasn’t a clutch day for us offensively.”
Anthony Gomez, Jason Esposito, Connor Harrell and Riley Reynolds all had two hits, which accounted for all but one of the Commodores’ total.
No one drove in a run, though, even though Vanderbilt had runners on second and third in both the first and fourth innings and again in the ninth.
"Congratulations to Vanderbilt — they have an outstanding team,” Florida coach Kevin O’Sullivan said. “I expect them to be successful in the postseason, but it all started on the mound for us. … We knew we would have to pitch well to get on top of Vanderbilt. The ball bounced our way early on.”
The Commodores fell behind when they committed two errors and allowed two unearned runs in the second inning.
Florida pulled away with one more run in the seventh off starting pitcher Taylor Hill and two in the eighth off Will Clinard, the first of three relievers.
“I like to think of our team as being very defensive oriented,” VU coach Tim Corbin said. “I thought those errors were uncharacteristic. … Those things happen in college baseball. It just happened to bite us a little bit.
“… We really had a good pitching performance by [Hill]. He did exactly what we needed on a championship day to win a ball game.”
The hitters, on the other hand, did not do enough.
• Vanderbilt had a league-high players five players named to the all-tournament team, which consisted of 12 players in all. Esposito, Reynolds, pitcher Sonny Gray, first baseman Aaron Westlake and designated hitter Conrad Gregor were those named.