Vanderbilt hits from top to bottom, completes weekend sweep of LSU

Sunday, April 24, 2011 at 11:54pm
Staff reports

It didn’t take long for Vanderbilt to get back to on top of the Southeastern Conference baseball standings.

The Commodores, who started the weekend ranked third in the country, finished off a three-game sweep of visiting LSU with a 10-7 victory on Sunday.

The Commodores’ first sweep of LSU since 2007 came a week after they dropped two of three to defending national champion South Carolina. That knocked Vanderbilt out of the top spot in the country and in the SEC.

After this weekend, though, Vanderbilt (35-5, 14-4) moves into a three-way tie for the SEC lead with fifth-ranked Florida and No. 2 South Carolina, which took two of three from Mississippi State.

On Sunday, the Commodores matched a season-high with 20 hits. A six-run, six-hit third inning was the difference as Conrad Gregor’s two-run home run was in the middle of the spurt.

Gregor, Riley Reynolds and Jack Lupo — the No. 7 through No. 9 hitters — went 10-for-13 with three RBIs and six runs scored.

“We have had lineups here in the past where maybe once you get past a certain part of the order that, ‘OK, this part of the order is going to give the other team a breather.’ But I don’t really think we have that,” Vanderbilt head coach Tim Corbin said. “Conrad is certainly locked in and he is a good hitter. Riley can give you quality at-bats because he can do a lot with his at-bat. ... Then the nine-hole guy [Lupo] goes four-for-four, which we like and that makes it tough on the opponent.”

Gregor, Lupo and Anthony Gomez set career-highs with four hits apiece, and Jason Esposito extended his hitting streak to 21 games.

Vanderbilt starter Taylor Hill (3-0) pitched five innings and allowed just three runs on six hits and four walks. LSU (24-17, 4-14), however, rallied against the bullpen in the seventh for four runs to make it a two-run game. The Tigers scored three runs against Corey Williams, but Will Clinard ended the jam in the seventh. Mark Lamm worked a scoreless eighth and closer Navery Moore got around a walk and an error in the ninth to pick up his ninth save of the season. Vanderbilt used a total of seven pitchers.

The Commodores outscored LSU 31-11 in the series as all three starters — along with Sonny Gray (8-2) and Grayson Garvin (8-1) — picked up wins.

Vanderbilt will travel to Western Kentucky for a 6 p.m. contest on Tuesday before hosting rival Tennessee this weekend.