VU-USC: Vandy takes game one in a Flash

In a game that was filled with drama that seemingly wouldn’t end, Vanderbilt outlasted South Carolina 4-3 in 13 innings and 4 hours and 14 minutes.  Leading the way was All-American Shortstop Ryan “Flash” Flaherty (5-6, 2R, 2RBI, BB).  Flaherty singled in his first three at bats and launched a game tying home run to center with two outs in the bottom of the 9th.  In the bottom of the 13th, with the bases loaded and one out, Flaherty bounced a single through the right side for the win. 

Both starters were effective, with Mikie Minor cruising through the first three innings perfectly.  Minor gave up a homerun to leftfield by CF Whit Merrifield (2-6, R, RBI) of USC.  He would tire late, giving up single runs in the 8th and 9th innings on a Reese Havens (0-5, RBI) groundout and a Harley Lail (1-6, RBI) double.  Minor would go 8.2 IP, surrendering 3ER on 6H and a BB against 10K.  Minor was relieved by Chase Reid (2.2IP, 3H, BB, 3K) and eventual winner Russ Brewer (1.2IP, H, 2BB, K).

 For South Carolina, starter Mike Cisco escaped early damage by forcing freshman DH Curt Casali (0-3) out in two early bases loaded jams.  In the third, he surrendered an RBI single to firstbaseman Andrew Giobbi (2-5, RBI).  Cisco held steady through the 7th before All-American rightfielder Dom de la Osa (3-6, RBI) grounded in 3B Brian Harris (1-4, 2R, BB).   Ray Tanner used effective relief to keep the game in check, thereafter.  Curtis Johnson (5IP, 4H, ER, BB, 2K) was solid, despite giving up Flaherty’s game-tying HR.  Craig Thomas opened the 12th as a lefty specialist to get out Flaherty, before giving way to Brandon Todd, who cruised through the 12th.  With one out in the 13th, Todd walked Harris, gave up a single to David Macias (2-7) and walked Alex Feinberg (0-5, BB) to load the bases for Flaherty.

Perhaps the key for the night was Minor, Reid and Brewer’s ability to shutdown the powerful trio of Havens, All-American 1B Justin Smoak (0-5, BB, 2K) and 3B James Darnell (1-5, 4K). 

Tomorrow’s game starts at 2p.m. and is viewable with VU webcast at www.vucommodores.com.