by Leslie Koerdt @LK_Comm
HOOVER, ALA.- The Florida Gators came into game two of semi-final day on fire with no signs of being cooled off by Vanderbilt. The first time these two teams met, a total of three runs were scored. There were three runs scored in the first inning alone.
Florida's Brian Johnson's offense efforts are overshadowed by a comeback win that most have never seen before now. Vanderbilt set an SEC Tournament record with seven steals for the game and six in the 9th. Mike Yastrzemski started the theatrics with a game tying suicide squeeze.
What would follow is something that most had never seen before (with a 40 year veteran umpire, he has seen most everything). The Commodores pulled off a single steal, double steal, and a triple steal. Anthony Gomez stole 2nd, 3rd, and home. When asked if stealing home was a coach's call, Gomez replied, "It was in the middle of being coach's call. It kinda just happened spur of the moment, the next pitch it would have been coach's call. I guess I just took off early."
Gomez gave a glimpse of why Coach Tim Corbin trusts him with base running decisions. Gomez explained how Florida pitcher Austin Maddox's leg kick gave him confidence to steal second and third. At third he asked coaches for Maddox's time to the plate, a question that was never answered. With a tip of the Gator hurlers glove, the triple steal was on.
Florida would not go quietly after Vandy's five run ninth. Brian Johnson capped his 4-5, 4 RBI day with a single scoring Preston Tucker. With the bases loaded for the Gators, Corbin and company made a move that caused flashbacks to 1978. With Justin Shafer up, Mike Yastrzemski was moved to left field as his grandfather former Red Sox Carl Yastrzemski. Not only were superstitious baseball folks thinking about Yastrzemski having a ball hit over his head to end the 1978 season, but they were also thinking about who hit the ball.
Yankee Bucky Dent is most remembered for hitting the three-run homer to give the Yankees a 3-2 lead in the AL East division playoff game. Against any other team, the move may not have been as noticeable, in the Gator dugout sat Buckys son Cody Dent. The result was a bit different this time though. Shafer flied out to right field- where the young Yas had been before switching with John Norwood. The win sends Vandy to the SEC Championship Game to face another hot team in the Mississippi State Bulldogs.