HOOVER, Ala. -- Vanderbilt scored seven runs in the first three innings, capped off by a five run third and used a strong relief outing by Brett Jacobson to beat Ole Miss, 7-4, in the semifinal action at the Southeastern Conference tournament Saturday afternoon at Regions Park.
The Commodores (40-19) forced a second game with the Rebels (36-23) later tonight. A win would put Vanderbilt in the title game for the third straight year, while a loss would end the team's tourney run.
"In order to do it, you have to have a rout and we created a rout and some believability because of it," said Vanderbilt head coach Tim Corbin on his team's hot start and ability to force another game. "If we hadn't done it before, it might be a pipe dream, but we've done it before so it isn't a pipe dream. There are a lot of things that have to happen, you have to have quality pitching and some luck and you have to hit. It's still tough."
VU snapped a three-game losing streak to Ole Miss dating back to the regular season series in Oxford in April. The win was the third straight over the Rebels in tourney play as the Commodores swept two games in a similar situation on semifinal Saturday a year ago.
David Macias led off the game with a solo homer to right to give the Commodores an early 1-0 lead. It was his eighth homer of the season.
Cody Overbeck's two-run homer in the bottom half gave the Rebels a 2-1 lead.
VU tied the game in the second on a RBI groundout by Shea Robin and then plated five runs on three hits in the third to take a 7-2 lead. Alex Feinberg reached on an error to lead off the frame and back-to-back walks to Pedro Alvarez and Ryan Flaherty loaded the bases with no outs. Dominic de la Osa singled to left to score two runs to give VU a 4-2 lead. Steven Liddle followed with a RBI single to score Flaherty and Andrew Giobbi had a RBI groundout to score de la Osa to make it 6-2. Robin capped off the inning with a RBI single up the middle to score Liddle.
Ole Miss plated two runs in the fourth courtesy of a double into the left-center gap by Tim Ferguson to make it 7-4.
The Commodores then rode the strong pitching of Brett Jacobson and solid defensive play to hold the Rebels in check the final five innings.
Ole Miss had a chance to cut into the lead in the fifth, loading the bases with freshman slugger Matt Smith at the plate with two outs. Jacobson struck him out to end the threat.
Jacobson hit the lead off batter in the eighth and walked the next batter before facing Smith again. This time Smith grounded to third, allowing Alvarez to touch the bag and throw to second for the second out. Feinberg then threw to first to attempt to finish out the triple play but the umpire called him safe in a close play.
Tim Ferguson walked to lead off the ninth, causing the Commodores to go to Richie Goodenow out of the bullpen. He struck out the first batter he faced before walking Jordan Henry to bring the tying run to the plate. Goodenow struck out Fuller Smith before Russell Brewer came in to face Logan Power. Brewer got Power to pop to second to end the game and pick up his eighth save of the year, tying him for third best in school history.
Jacobson improved to 2-4 on the year pitching four innings of no-hit ball with two strikeouts and four walks.
"Sometimes you make great pitches that get hit, and not so great ones that don't get hit," said Jacobson. "I was fortunate to make some good pitches. It seemed like every time there was a ball put in play the defense was turning a double play or almost a triple play. Our defense really picked me up today."
Vanderbilt 115 000 000 -7 9 0 Ole Miss 200 200 000 -4 5 1
Hill, Jacobson (5), Goodenow (9), and Robin. Satterwhite, McKean (2), Cryer (3) and Basham. W- Jacobson 2-4, L- McKean 4-1. Sv- Brewer (8) HR: VU: Macias (8) OM: Overbeck (15)