Nashville, Tenn. - Top-ranked Vanderbilt battled back to split a doubleheader with Santa Clara at frigid Hawkins Field Saturday with the Broncos claiming the first game 7-6 and the Commodores winning the nightcap 6-5 in 10 innings.
In the series finale, the two teams played to a stalemate through nine innings as temperatures plunged into the 20s on West End. The Commodores (2-1) put the leadoff man on in the 10th when Jason Delay singled to center field. Freshman Jeren Kendall was called on to pinch run and quickly raced around to third base when Dansby Swanson singled through the right side. With no outs the Broncos (1-2) brought a fifth infielder into the game and drew the infield in with Ro Coleman at the plate and runners on the corners. But it didn't matter as Coleman hit the ball at the second baseman, who could not field it cleanly allowing Kendall to score without a throw to end the game.
Freshman Jordan Sheffield shined in relief in his collegiate debut. The right-hander turned in 3.2 scoreless innings out of the pen allowing only one hit. He entered a tied game in the seventh inning and immediately made an impact by stranding the bases loaded and again left the go-ahead run at third in the top of the 10th after allowing a leadoff single. Sheffield's outing capped a successful game for the Vandy bullpen that featured Ben Bowden and Joey Abraham, who also made his collegiate debut. The three relievers combined for eight innings of work and allowed only two runs, one earned, on five hits.
Penn Murfee earned the first start of his career to make his Vanderbilt debut and he made it special by going 3-for-4 with a pair of walks. Murfee ripped a double into the left field corner in his first career at-bat in the second to score Zander Wiel before coming around to score on Jason Delay's single for an early VU lead. The Vandy offense pounded out 13 hits in the win with eight players contributing. Rhett Wiseman hit the team's first home run of the season with a two-run shot to right field in the fifth.
In the first game, the Dores' bullpen allowed a late lead to slip away in the ninth. Hayden Stone took his first career loss when he could not defend a one-run lead. The right-hander walked the leadoff hitter, who came around to score on a wild pitch to tie the game. The Broncos then caught a break when a botched suicide squeeze bunt went their way as the ball bounced away from Delay to allow Jose Vizcaino Jr. to steal home and put Santa Clara in the lead for good.
The Commodores rallied in the eighth inning to take the lead briefly when Dansby Swanson singled up the middle to drive in two runs with his fourth hit to match a career-best. But the lead was short-lived with Santa Clara's ninth-inning rally and the Dores going down in order in the bottom of the ninth.
Swanson led all players with four hits in the game and finished the double dip 5-for-9. The VU offense racked up 27 hits on the day while the team's pitchers allowed just 15.
Jose Vizcaino Jr. led the Broncos with four hits on the day reaching base nine times in the two games. Reliever Reece Karalus picked up the win in the first game with two innings of work and took the loss in the nightcap allowing the winning run in the 10th.
Vanderbilt returns to action on Wednesday at crosstown rival Belmont. First pitch at Rose Park is set for 4 p.m.