Nashville, Tenn. – No. 2 Vanderbilt rolled over Xavier 14-3 to clinch the series on Saturday at Hawkins Field.
The Commodores (14-1) took an early two-run lead in the third inning and traded runs with Xavier (3-10) in the fourth before blowing the game open with a four-run fifth inning. Freshman Walker Grisanti, making his second career start, led off the frame with a single, eventually scoring the first run of the inning on Penn Murfee’s second RBI-single of the day. Xavier starter Greg Jacknewitz’s seventh walk of the afternoon ended his outing one batter later with the bases full of Commodores for Karl Ellison. The junior greeted new Musketeers pitcher Trey Schramm with a sacrifice fly to right field to push the lead to three runs. Senior Kyle Smith capped the rally with a two-out, two-run single up the middle to extend the lead to 7-2.
The Vandy offense was impressive in the victory scoring in each of the team’s final five at-bats with seven of the team’s 12 hits going for extra bases. Smith belted his third home run of the season as part of his second three-hit game of the week as the senior drove in three runs and scored two more. Ethan Paul scored a career-high three runs driving in two runs in the Dores’ four-run eighth inning with his first career triple after adding a double to center field in the seventh inning. Grisanti stayed hot as the freshman reached base four times from the leadoff spot and scored a career-best three runs. Grisanti is now 7-for-11 (.636) in his first eight collegiate games. Liam Sabino added some pop off the bench in the eighth inning, smashing his first career home run into the bleachers in left-center field to set the final score.
Ben Bowden earned the win with five solid innings for the Dores. The big lefty allowed two runs on six hits with six strikeouts. Xavier finally reached him for a run in the fourth, after Bowden navigated a leadoff double successfully in the third, when Joe Gellenbeck lined a home run over the right field wall. The next two Musketeers reached base before Bowden ended the inning with his fifth strikeout and a foul out. Right-handers Matt Ruppenthal and Maddux Conger finished off the victory with Conger fanning the final two batters of the game.
Jacknewitz took the loss for Xavier allowing seven runs on five hits with seven walks over 4.1 innings. The Musketeers’ bullpen allowed seven runs, six earned, on seven hits over 3.2 innings. Daniel Rizzie had two hits and a RBI for XU in the loss.
Vanderbilt and Xavier wrap up the series tomorrow at 1 p.m. on SEC Network+. Kyle Wright is scheduled to start for the Commodores.