Nashville, Tenn. -
No. 3 Vanderbilt scored five runs in the eighth inning to put away Tennessee with an 8-3 win and clinch the series at a rain-soaked Hawkins Field Saturday night.
The Commodores (24-4, 7-1) entered the bottom of the eighth clinging to a 3-2 lead when Conrad Gregor led off the frame with a double into the left-center field gap. Connor Harrell attempted to move Gregor over to third with a sacrifice bunt but did more than that when Tennessee (13-12, 3-5) catcher David Houser threw the ball into right field allowing Gregor to score and Harrell to reach second base. Mike Yastrzemski battled Volunteers' starter Nick Williams for a walk to chase the right-hander from the game. Vince Conde then worked a four-pitch walk from UT reliever Trevor Bettencourt to load the bases and send the Vols back to the pen for lefty Dalton Saberhagen. The southpaw struck out Rhett Wiseman for the first out of the inning and quickly put two strikes on Chris Harvey before Harvey lined a bases clearing triple into the right-center field gap to bust the game open. Jack Lupo's sacrifice fly capped the rally and stretched Vandy's lead to six runs.
Tennessee made it exciting in the eighth inning in a one-run game when Vanderbilt starter Tyler Beede walked the first two batters of the inning. A sacrifice bunt put both runners in scoring position and ended Beede's night. Freshman Carson Fulmer entered the game and slammed the door, striking out the next two batters to end the threat. Fulmer pitched the ninth inning to earn his first career save.
Beede stayed perfect on the season, improving to 7-0 in seven starts. The right-hander hit a bump in the second inning when he allowed his first runs since allowing an unearned run at Oregon on March 9. The Vols tagged Beede for two runs on a pair of hits and a walk before the sophomore settled in with the falling rain and cruised into the eighth, allowing only two hits along the away. On the night, Beede allowed two runs on four hits and five walks with nine strikeouts over 7.1 innings. Williams (1-1) took the loss for UT giving up six runs, four earned, on five hits in seven innings of work.
With the win the Commodores are off to a 7-1 start in Southeastern Conference play, the team's best start since 1972 when the squad started the season 10-1. The victory also clinched the Dores' seventh straight series to start the season and 11 straight regular season series dating back to last season.
Vanderbilt will bring the brooms tomorrow in search of a series sweep of Tennessee. Lefty Philip Pfeifer (2-0) will be on the bump for VU against Volunteers' right-hander Aaron Quillen (1-1).