Vanderbilt baseball leads early, loses series opener at Georgia

Thursday, May 19, 2011 at 10:04pm
Staff reports

Aaron Westlake had three hits, including a third-inning home run, but Vanderbilt failed to hold a three-run lead and fell 5-4 to Georgia on Thursday in the opener of the final Southeastern Conference series of the season.

Westlake put the Commodores (42-9, 20-8 in the SEC) ahead 4-1 when he led off the third with his team-leading 12th home run of the season.

Georgia (28-26, 16-12) responded with one run in four of the next five innings as it won a series opener for the first time since late March. Kyle Farmer scored the game-winning run on a wild pitch by Will Clinard with the bases loaded in the bottom of the seventh.

Clinard relieved starter Sonny Gray to start the seventh inning and after Gray allowed season-highs of four runs and nine hits through six innings. Gray (9-4) also gave up home runs to the first batters he faced in the second and third innings, respectively, which doubled the number of home runs he has allowed this season.

UGA starter Michael Palazzone struck out six, walked two and allowed eight hits in a complete game. Gray struck out six and walked three.

Westlake was the only VU player with more than one hit. His leadoff single in the eighth snapped a streak in which 13 straight Commodores were retired and was their only hit over the final six innings.

Jason Esposito was 0-for-4, which ended his streak of having reached base in 38 consecutive contests.