San Diego, Calif. – No. 7 Vanderbilt’s late comeback bid fell 90-feet short in a season-opening 3-2 loss at San Diego on Thursday night at Fowler Park.
The Commodores (0-1) entered the top of the ninth trailing by a run but quickly put the tying run aboard when Julian Infante drew a four-pitch walk to start the frame. Junior Reed Hayes was called upon to pinch hit and delivered a single into shallow left-center field for his first career hit as a Commodore. The base hit pushed Infante into scoring position at second base with no outs for leadoff hitter Jeren Kendall. Kendall, however, attempted to bunt, popping it up into foul territory where San Diego (1-0) catcher Riley Adams caught it and threw to second base to double off Infante. With two down and a runner on first, Connor Kaiser came through with an infield single to put runners on the corners before Will Toffey struck out to end the game.
Vandy took an early lead with Kendall leading off the game with a triple to right field. Two batters later, Toffey gave VU a one-run lead with a sacrifice fly. Adams tied the game in the second with a solo homer. The Dores answered back with another run in the third with Toffey delivering again, this time with a single to left field to score Kendall. Vandy, however, let San Diego starter Nick Sprengel off the hook in the inning leaving the bases loaded. San Diego immediately took advantage by scoring two runs in the bottom of the inning to take the lead. A RBI-triple by Jeff Houghtby tied the game at 2-2 before Vanderbilt starter Kyle Wright could get the second out. Wright appeared to be out of the inning when Colton Waltner hit a hard, one-hopper back to the mound but Wright was unable corral it allowing the go-ahead run to score.
Wright took the loss, allowing three runs on four hits over five innings. After allowing the go-ahead run, the right-hander allowed just a walk over his final two frames. Maddux Conger relieved Wright with three strong innings. The sophomore punched out five over three scoreless innings. Kendall and Infante led the way with two hits each while Toffey drove in both of the team’s runs.
Sprengel picked up the win with five innings of work for the Toreros. The lefty punched out nine and gave up two runs on five hits. Troy Conyers earned the save with 2.1 scoreless innings.
The weather forecast has pushed Friday’s game time up to 4 p.m. CT. The Commodores will send right-hander Patrick Raby to the mound tomorrow afternoon.