Nashville, Tenn. – No. 3 Vanderbilt gave up a big sixth inning but came back with one of its own to claim the series against San Diego Saturday afternoon with a 13-6 win Hawkins Field.
The Commodores (2-0) cruised into the sixth inning with a 6-0 lead but that changed quickly. San Diego’s (0-2) Hunter Mercado-Hood led off the inning with a line drive to center, where Bryan Reynolds misplayed the liner into a double. The next two Toreros reached base on a fielder’s choice bunt and a bunt for an infield single to load the bases against Vanderbilt (2-0) starter Ben Bowden. The big lefty had breezed through the first five frames with no walks but issued his first walk of the day with the bases loaded to force in a run. Bowden was chased after an RBI-single from Bhret Bewley, which prompted Collin Snider into the game. Snider inherited the bases full of Toreros and was quickly greeted by a Riley Adams RBI-single to cut the VU lead in half. Snider finally picked up the first out of the inning on a ground out to first allowing a fourth run to score. San Diego later pulled even on a two-strike, safety squeeze bunt by Jerod Smith before Snider could get the Commodores out of the inning.
The Dores battled back in the bottom half of the inning getting started with a Kyle Smith single to left. Fellow senior Tyler Campbell followed with a single of his own to set up Jeren Kendall. Friday night’s hero came through again on Saturday lining a two-run single to left to give the Dores back the lead. The two-out rally continued with freshman Alonzo Jones doubling to center field for his first career hit and first two RBI as a Commodore before fellow freshman Ethan Paul capped the seven-run rally with his first career hit and first two RBI.
The Commodores pounded out 11 hits in the win led by Kendall and Smith, who had three each. The duo combined for six hits, six RBI and three runs. Smith also launched his first home run of the season, sending a towering two-run shot over the left-center field bleachers in the third inning. Kendall is 7-for-10 with eight RBI and three stolen bases in the first two games of the year. Jones notched his first two-hit game and scored two runs as the bottom half of the lineup produced eight runs in the win.
Snider earned his first career win out of the bullpen allowing one run on three hits over his two innings. Bowden allowed five runs on five hits with five strikeouts in his five-plus innings. The lefty surrendered just a pair of singles through the first five innings before running into trouble in the sixth. Freshman Evan Steele made his collegiate debut in the eighth inning striking out one in a scoreless inning.
Adams and Daniel Gardner each had two hits to lead San Diego. Drew Jacobs took the loss allowing two runs on two hits while recording just two outs. Starter Gary Cornish gave up five runs, four earned, on three hits in his 3.1 innings.
The Commodores and Toreros wrap up the opening weekend series tomorrow at noon at Hawkins Field.