Nashville, Tenn. - Vanderbilt walked off with a wild 9-8 win over Evansville Tuesday night at Hawkins Field in 12 innings.
After leaving the bases loaded in the bottom of the eighth inning, the Commodores (10-2) cruised into the top of the ninth with a two-run lead and Jordan Sheffield on the mound. The right-hander created his own trouble with a leadoff walk and a second walk sandwiched around a strikeout. Jonathan Ramon - who entered the game as a defensive replacement in the eighth - turned the game with one swing, smashing a three-run homer over the left field wall to give Evansville (4-3) a one-run lead.
Down a run in the bottom of the ninth inning with one out, Penn Murfee picked a good time for his first career home run. The Nashville-native crushed a solo homer over the lights in left-center to tie the game at 8-8 and help send the game into extra innings.
Once into extra innings, Sheffield took over. The right-hander issued only one walk over the final three innings and allowed no other base runners. With Sheffield dealing on the mound the Vandy offense mounted a rally in the bottom of the 12th inning. Ro Coleman led off with a single to center field and moved over to second base on a balk. A ground out to first base advanced him to third base for Rhett Wiseman, who had reached base in his previous six plate appearances including a career-best four hits. The Purple Aces issued an intentional walk to Wiseman and followed with another for Dansby Swanson to load the bases with one out. With Zander Wiel at the plate, Evansville catcher Travis Tokarek could not handle Alex Gould's 2-2 pitch that bounced between his legs and to the backstop allowing Coleman to score from third and give the Commodores' their third walk-off win this season.
Sheffield earned his second win with five innings out of the bullpen. The freshman allowed three runs on one hit to go along with a career-best seven strikeouts. Walker Buehler made his season debut with two no-hit innings and a pair of strikeouts. Five Vanderbilt pitchers limited the Purple Aces to just four hits in the win.
Wiseman reached base in all seven plate appearances in the win, matching his career-best with four hits with his second four-hit outing in the last four games. Murfee added three hits of his own, singling twice to go with his dramatic ninth inning home run. Swanson put the Commodores in the lead in the third inning with his first home run of the season, a three-run blast to center field.
The 12-inning game is the longest for VU since a 12-inning win over Tennessee in 2013. The Commodores' two extra-inning games this season match the team's total from all of last season.
Gould took the loss for the Purple Aces after giving up the winning run in the 12th inning. Kevin Kaczmarksi walked four times and scored two runs to lead Evansville.
Top-ranked Vanderbilt travels to Los Angeles for the weekend to play at No. 4 UCLA on Friday, at USC on Saturday and takes on No. 6 TCU in Dodger Stadium on Sunday.