Vanderbilt pulls away from South Carolina with ninth-inning bunts

Friday, May 27, 2011 at 12:00am
Staff reports

Mike Yastrzemski threw out a runner at the plate and drove in a run with a squeeze bunt as Vanderbilt defeated South Carolina 6-2 on Thursday in a winner’s bracket game on the second day of the Southeastern Conference baseball tournament.

The second-ranked Commodores (46-9) led 3-1 after an RBI single by Conrad Gregor in the top of the third. They did not score again until Yastrzemski drove in the first of four runs in the ninth with a successful bunt. Gregor drove in the third run of the inning when he reached on a sacrifice bunt of his own.

The top-ranked Gamecocks (45-13) had a chance to answer in the bottom of the third, but on a single Yastrzemski threw out Beary at home for the final out.

Vanderbilt now has a day off. Its next game is 9:30 a.m. Saturday against the winner of Friday’s contest between Arkansas and Alabama.

South Carolina scored one run in the fourth but failed to take advantage of other opportunities. Behind by one, it had the bases loaded in the seventh and two on in the eighth and did not produce a run in either case.

Navery Moore came on with two outs in the eighth and recorded the final four outs for the save. Starter Sonny Gray pitched 6.1 innings, allowed five hits and one walk and struck out seven. He improved to 10-3 on the season.

Yastrzemski and Gregor each had a team-high two RBIs. Aaron Westlake, Anthony Gomez and Jason Esposito all scored two runs.


• Freshman pitcher T.J. Pecoraro, who started Wednesday against Georgia, will miss the remainder of the season because of an injury to his pitching arm.

Pecoraro left in the fourth inning of the Commodores’ 10-0 victory in their SEC tournament opener with discomfort in his forearm.

“I’m disappointed for T.J. but he had a great freshman season,” coach Tim Corbin said. “His teammates will pick him up.”

Pecoraro was 7-0 with a 1.59 ERA in 17 appearances (six starts).