NASHVILLE--- Vanderbilt trailed 3-0 in the second and then scored 14 unanswered runs in a 14-3 win over Ohio Friday evening at Hawkins Field.
The Commodores won their eighth straight game to improve to 12-1, while the Bobcats fell to 2-9.
The Bobcats took advantage of Sonny Gray's control issues in the third to plate three runs to take a 3-0 lead. He walked two batters, including one with the bases loaded in the frame.
Gray settled down after that and threw six shutout innings from the third through the eighth. He ended up allowing three runs on six hits in eight innings with five strikeouts and three walks to move to 3-1 on the year.
"I thought the second inning was tough for Sonny and there was a question mark if he could get to the fifth or sixth," said Vanderbilt head coach Tim Corbin. "I think it was big for him to minimize damage in the middle innings and then get to the eighth. He found a couple of pitches tonight that he started to use a little bit more, which I thought was key. For him to go eight tonight with 72 innings in the next 10 days was big for us."
Trailing 3-0 in the second, VU plated five runs in the bottom half to take a 5-3 lead. Joe Loftus started things off with a solo homer to right-center, his second of the year. Connor Harrell doubled and Anthony Gomez singled and advanced on a wild pitch to put runners on second and third. Brian Harris' sacrifice fly brought in Harrell, and was followed by Bryan Johns reaching on a hit by pitch. Aaron Westlake capped things off with a three-run homer over the bleachers in right-center, his third homer of the year.
"Joe (Loftus) has worked hard with Josh (Holliday) and has gained extra confidence and we need to get him going for us to be a good team," said Corbin when asked about Loftus' two homers in the last two games.
Riley Reynolds RBI single in the third and Harris' sacrifice fly RBI made it 7-3.
VU put up another five spot in the fifth inning with two runs coming via a triple by Brian Harris, and one each on singles by Westlake, Johns and Esposito.
"All around it was a pretty good offensive night," said Corbin. "The nine, one and two hitters (Gomez, Harris, Johns) did a great job of getting on base and Westlake had a big night. I'd like to get a couple of more guys going to make it a more balanced lineup but I thought we played like a pretty good team after the third inning."
The Commodores and Bobcats will meet in the second game of the three-game set on Saturday at 2 p.m. Junior right-hander Taylor Hill (3-0, 1.35 ERA) will take the bump for VU.