Rally falls short in 5-4 loss

Feb. 17, 2018

Final Stats

NASHVILLE -- Vanderbilt came up a few feet short as a putout at the plate in the bottom of the ninth solidified a 5-4, Duke victory on Saturday night at Hawkins Field.  

The No. 25 Blue Devils (1-1) scored the go-ahead run behind three hits in the eighth, and one frame later, cut down Pat DeMarco attempting to score the tying run from second on a hard-hit ball from Ethan Paul.  

Down to their last out and trailing by one, the No. 14 Commodores (1-1) received a major boost from Connor Kaiser, who beat out an infield grounder, moving DeMarco to second. Paul followed, skipping a ball to second baseman Max Miller, who bobbled and double-clutched but was able to fire to catcher Chris Proctor who provided the tag on DeMarco to end the game.  

In the third, pinch-hitter Stephen Scott drove a 1-2 pitch into center before turning on the jets and legging a routine single into a leadoff double. Two batters later the junior took third on a wild pitch and gave Vandy a 1-0 lead as a Kaiser chopper to first could not be fielded.  

The Blue Devils answered in the fourth, using three-consecutive hits, including a two-run single from cleanup hitter Jack Labosky to grab the 2-1 advantage. The Dores knotted it up in the fifth when Scott roped his second double of the day down the right field line and came home to score on a DeMarco lined single into right field.  

The lead was short-lived, however, as Duke two-hole hitter Griffin Conine drove a two-run home run over Alonzo Jones’ outstretched glove in left field in the sixth for the 4-2 advantage. The homer was the first at Hawkins Field this season and came off reliever Tyler Brown.  

Vandy answered in the seventh as Scott continued his big day, turning on a 0-2 pitch, driving the ball into the right-field bleachers. The solo home run was the junior’s third career long ball and trimmed the Commodores’ deficit to 4-3.  

The two-out hit parade continued for the Dores as DeMarco lined a single into left and advanced to second on an errant pickoff attempt. Kaiser provided the rest, lifting Vandy’s third double of the day into left-center to tie the game at 4-4.

The Blue Devils answered back, welcoming right-hander Patrick Raby with two-straight hits. Three-hole hitter Kennie Taylor inflicted the major damage, swatting a one-out double into left field to plate one as Duke retook the lead, 5-4.

Ethan DeCaster (1-0) tossed the final 2.1 innings for Duke, permitting just one hit and a walk while fanning four to secure the win. Raby (0-1) drew the loss, allowing three hits and one run alongside three hits while striking out four.

The squads close the series tomorrow with the rubber match set for 1 p.m. Vanderbilt sends right-handed junior Chandler Day to the mound while the Blue Devils counter with left-handed senior Mitch Stallings.


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