, Alabama (PressExposure) June 17, 2009 -- The Alabama Crimson Tide swept its first series over Vanderbilt since 2006 after the Southeastern Conference allowed a double header due to the threat of heavy rain on Saturday April 18th at Hawkins field in Nashville.
Alabama finished its first game on Saturday 7-3, led by Del Howell who pitched his first complete game for the win. Howell allowed three runs on six hits, walking one. He recorded his third double digit strikeout of the season, striking out ten Commodores.
Alabama opened the first inning with a single and a steal by Taylor Dugas before Kent Matthes hit a 2 RBI home run, recoding his 22nd career home run. The commodores answered with a homer by Andrew Giobbi.
Vanderbilt tied the game in the second inning with Brian Harris scoring on an RBI single by Giobbi, but the Crimson tide came back in the third to score two.
Caleb Cotham walked Brandon May, loading the bases and scoring Dugas, before Jake Smith flied out to score Rutledge. Henderson struck out with two left on base.
Howell held Vanderbilt hitless in the third and fourth innings, while Wes Henderson and Vin Difazio hit back to back homers for Alabama in the fifth.
Steven Liddle scored on a double by Curt Casali in the sixth, but the rest of the game remained scoreless on both sides.
The second game of the double header ended with Alabama on top once again with a 7-6 lead. The Tide scored first at the top of the second with an RBI single by Henderson, sending Smith over the plate after he doubled off a hit by Vanderbilt starting pitcher Drew Hayes.
"I thought in the first game we didn't come out with the right mind set and I thought we pitched poorly," said Vanderbilt head coach Tim Corbin "In the second game I thought we pitched ok with Hayes out there. The sixth inning was a disaster because we gave them four chances in a row. We didn't come up with the double play, we didn't cover the six-hole and then we threw a bunt away."
Vandy added two more runs by Alex Mcclure and Giobbi in the third.
Alabama rallied in the fifth with a home run by Kyle Moore. Chase Reid came in to relieve Hayes, walking Wilson and Rutledge, before he loaded the bases by hitting Matthes and scoring Alex Kubal. He stuck out Brandon May to save the inning. The Commodores came back in their half, scoring three for the 5-3 lead.
The Tide answered with four runs in the sixth, including a homer by Smith. Smith was pulled off of third base to relieve Taylor White, to record his first career save. Despite a home run by Harris in the ninth, Vanderbilt never recovered after the sixth. Smith recorded three strikeouts and one walk, allowing 1 run on 4 hits for the game.
"It's good to get the save in a tight one-run game on the road," Smith said. "It helps the confidence of this team and gets us going in the right direction."