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NASHVILLE--- Sophomore second baseman Riley Reynolds walked with the bases loaded with two-outs in the bottom of the ninth to score the game-winning run as Vanderbilt rallied from a 7-0 fourth inning deficit to win 9-8 in the series finale Saturday evening at Hawkins Field.
The Commodores swept the Saturday doubleheader, winning 2-1 in game one, and moved to 21-4 overall and 4-2 in Southeastern Conference play.
The Wildcats dropped to 16-8 overall and 1-5 in league action.
"That says something right there," said Vanderbilt head coach Tim Corbin when asked about his team fighting back from the seven-run deficit after clinching the series in game one. "We could have just given in at that point, but there was really nothing to lose. It's almost like you had one in the bank and you just chip away. Our guys could have just been satisfied with the series win and they weren't and that says something. I am proud of them."
Trailing 8-6 in the bottom of the ninth, Brian Harris led off with a single to left, but was caught stealing at second for the first out in the frame. Pinch-hitter Drew Fann was hit by a pitch by reliever Matt Litlle and was then pinch ran for by Anthony Gomez. Aaron Westlake was also hit by a pitch, forcing the Wildcats to go to the bullpen and bring in Nick Kennedy. Jason Esposito hit a grounder to second that got past Chris Bisson and allowed Gomez to score from second. Sonny Gray came on to pinch run for Westlake at second and Andrew Giobbi then singled down the left field line to score the game-tying run. Joe Loftus was intentionally walked to load the bases with a force out at any base and Kennedy struck out Connor Harrell for the second out. Reynolds then drew the four pitch walk to bring home Esposito with the game winning run.
Navery Moore (1-0) recorded the final out in the top of the ninth on a strikeout to record his first collegiate win, while Kennedy (1-1) took the loss for the Wildcats.
Giobbi led the Commodores with a 4-for-5 night, while Mike Yastrzemski added two hits of his own in the nightcap.
After winning the first game of the doubleheader, 2-1, the Dores trailed 7-0 going into the fourth inning of game two. They clawed back with runs in six of the last seven innings, while the bullpen held the Wildcats in check with six relievers combining to allow just one run on two hits in four innings of work.
The Wildcats plated six runs in the third to take an early 6-0 lead. Chris Bisson had a two-run double and Gunner Glad and Keenan Wiley had RBI singles before Michael Williams capped things off with a two-run single to left.
Bisson added a RBI single in the fourth to make it 7-0.
VU got on the board in the fourth, scoring an unearned run to break up the shutout. They added two more in the fifth, on a RBI single by Yastrzemski and a RBI groundout by Westlake to cut the lead to 7-3.
The Dores continued to chip away at the lead in the sixth when Giobbi singled, moved to second on a wild pitch, stole third and scored on Harrell's sacrifice fly to left to make it 7-4.
VU cut the lead to 7-6 in the eighth when Esposito walked and scored on a RBI double into the gap in left-center by Giobbi. Giobbi advanced to third on a wild pitch and Curt Casali walked to put runners on the corner with no outs. Jordan Worsmley pinch ran for Casali and Harrell then grounded out to second to score Giobbi. Wormsley advanced to second on the groundout and then moved to third on a groundout by Riley Reynolds. Yasztrzemski then hit a hard grounder right to the first baseman for the final out in the inning, leaving the tying run at third.
UK tacked on a run in the eighth scoring on a bases loaded walk with two outs to Keenan Wiley.
Starter Jack Armstrong allowed seven runs on 10 hits in five innings with five strikeouts and no walks. Will Clinard, Corey Williams and Drew Hayes each threw an inning of scoreless relief, while Richie Goodenow, Russell Brewer and Navery Moore each recorded an out in the ninth.
In game one, the Commodores plated their only two runs of the game in the first, scoring on a passed ball and a RBI single by Andrew Giobbi.
The Wildcats got on the board in the fourth scoring on Andy Burns sacrifice fly. Gunner Glad reached on a one out single, Keenan Wiley was hit by a pitch and Marcus Ndiffer reached on a fielding error by pitcher Taylor Hill to load the bases. Burns then lifted a sacrifice fly ball to right to score Glad and make it 2-1.
Hill allowed one unearned run on five hits in 4.1 innings with two walks and two strikeouts in the no decision.
Chase Reid (4-1) picked up his second win of the week, allowing just a hit in three innings of scoreless relief with three strikeouts. Russell Brewer pitched 1.1 innings of two-hit scoreless relief and Richie Goodenow recorded the final out of the game via strikeout to notch his first save of the season. He came in with runners on first and third and disposed of Cory Farris on four pitches to clinch the series.
Connor Harrell led VU with two hits, while Chad Wright, Chris Bisson and Marcus Niddifer led UK with two each.
Kentucky freshman southpaw Taylor Rogers (3-2) went the distance on the mound, allowing the two runs, one earned, on seven hits with a strikeout and no walks in the loss.
The Commodores will close out a seven-game home stand with a pair of midweek contests against Wofford starting on Tuesday at 6 p.m. The teams will play again on Wednesday at 6 p.m. and VU will then get back into SEC play at Florida next weekend.