Oxford, Miss. – No. 24 Vanderbilt matched a season-best with three home runs in a 6-2 win to even the series with No. 16 Ole Miss on Saturday afternoon at Swayze Field.
The Commodores (13-7, 1-1) entered the fourth inning trailing 1-0 after the Rebels (13-6, 1-1) scratched out a run in the third. Julian Infante opened the fourth with a single to put the leadoff man on for the third straight inning for VU. Will Toffey followed in a big way, hitting his second home run of the season, a towering fly ball into the Vandy bullpen beyond the right field wall to put the Dores in front for good. Stephen Scott immediately followed with his first career home run to right-center field to join Toffey as the first pair of Commodores since Alonzo Jones and Kyle Smith to hit back-to-back home runs when that duo did it last year against San Diego (Feb. 21, 2016).
Handed the lead, Vanderbilt starter Patrick Raby went to work against the Rebels’ lineup. The right-hander retired Ole Miss in order in the fourth and fifth before a Jason Delay two-out, RBI-single in the top of the sixth padded the Dores’ lead. Raby quickly found trouble in the bottom of the sixth, however, when Will Golsan belted a leadoff double off the center field wall that Jeren Kendall lost in the sun. Raby then hit Ole Miss’ Ryan Olenek with a 0-2 pitch. After a lengthy discussion, the umpires confirmed Olenek was hit by the pitch to put two runners on with no outs and Vanderbilt leading 4-1. Tate Blackman then ripped a single to left field, where Stephen Scott came up throwing to nail Golsan at the plate. Delay made the tag and then a heads up throw to Toffey at third to get Olenek trying to take the extra base for a double play. A ground ball to Ethan Paul at second ended the inning and the threat.
Delay added his second two-out, RBI-single in the eighth and Kendall added his team-best fifth home run and Dores’ third of the game in the ninth with a solo shot into the Vandy bullpen in right field.
Raby picked up his third win of the season allowing two runs on four hits over six-plus innings. The sophomore punched out three one week after matching a career-best with 11 strikeouts. Zach King, Collin Snider and Reed Hayes all worked one scoreless inning apiece to secure the Commodores’ first Southeastern Conference win of the year.
Kendall, Scott and Delay all had two hits in the victory with Delay and Toffey driving in two runs each. Scott had a big day with a home run, double and two runs scored.
Ole Miss starter Brady Feigl took the loss after allowing up four runs on five hits with six strikeouts over 5.1 innings.
The two teams will square off tomorrow at 3 p.m. on SEC Network to decide the series. Vanderbilt turns to freshman Drake Fellows against Ole Miss’ Will Etheridge.