Freshmen T.J. Pecoraro and Kevin Ziomek allowed one hit and no runs combined as Vanderbilt opened the Southeastern Conference baseball tournament with a 10-0 victory over Georgia on Wednesday at Hoover, Ala.
The game was called due to the 10-run rule after Anthony Gomez’s RBI single in the bottom of the seventh.
Vanderbilt will face top seed South Carolina, the No. 1 team in the country, at approximately 8 p.m. Thursday in a second-round matchup.
"You get to the point where the margin is seven-eight runs and you have to keep the running game on," coach Tim Corbin said. "It might be a little bit different if you play a team like that in the regular season. When you know that you want to protect your pitching staff and get through this tournament, then something like that [run rule] is very key to moving on."
Tony Kemp, the conference freshman of the year, was 3-for-3, including a triple, with three RBIs and scored the game-ending run as the Commodores piled up 14 hits. It was his third run scored of the game and Vanderbilt’s fourth in the inning.
"It's incredible, especially when you have T.J. [Pecoraro] and Kevin Ziomek throwing a one-hitter with the run rule in seven innings," Kemp said. "That's a great job by the team."
Jason Esposito was 3-for-4 with two runs scored and two RBIs. His leadoff home run in the bottom of the second started the scoring.
Aaron Westlake and Curt Casali each added two hits.
Pecoraro pitched 3.1 innings and allowed one hit before he left with an apparent injury to his pitching arm. Ziomek entered and quickly found himself in a bases loaded situation courtesy of an error and two walks but got out of it with a pair of strikeouts. He allowed two base runners (a hit batter and a walk) the rest of the way.
"I tip my hat to Vanderbilt," Georgia coach Dave Perno said. "They have a great team, played the right way and did a good job [Wednesday] night.”