Baton Rouge, La. – Jeren Kendall’s two-out, three-run home run in the eighth inning lifted No. 2 Vanderbilt over No. 15 LSU 9-7 on Saturday afternoon at Alex Box Stadium.
The Commodores (25-7, 7-5) claimed an early lead for the second straight day with a home run in the first inning, this time on Bryan Reynolds’ monster shot off the top of the left field scoreboard but the Tigers (21-10, 6-6) moved into the lead in the third with three runs and then reclaimed the lead with four runs in the fifth. Vanderbilt cut into the deficit in the seventh with two runs thanks to a Reynolds double off the top of the right field wall and a Jason Delay sacrifice fly but Reynolds was stranded at third to end the inning.
Vanderbilt put the winning inning together in the eighth with a two-out rally. Ro Coleman was scratched from the lineup earlier in the day due to sickness but the junior came through with a clutch single on the first pitch he saw to start the rally. Coleman was lifted for pinch runner Alonzo Jones, who moved to second on Tyler Campbell’s third hit of the day. Campbell’s single flipped the lineup over and brought up Jeren Kendall, who had already singled three times on the day. Kendall battled LSU reliever Caleb Gilbert to a 2-2 count before lifting a three-run home run into the first row of the right field seats to put the Commodores up 9-7.
Handed a lead, the Dores turned to Ben Bowden out of the bullpen. The big lefty worked a clean eighth inning but a one-out double in the ninth allowed the tying run to come to the plate. Bowden got Jordan Romero to foul out to Delay but Kramer Robertson’s third hit of the game put runners on the corners with two outs. Bowden, however, finished off the victory getting Beau Jordan to fly out to right field and notch his sixth save of the season since moving to the bullpen two weeks ago.
The two teams traded runs in the middle of the game with LSU taking the lead with three runs in the third against starter Hayden Stone. The Dores bounced back with two runs in the fourth to reclaim the lead thanks to a Kendall RBI-single and a Reynolds sacrifice fly.
Kendall’s big day matched his career-bests with four hits and three runs scored. The sophomore drove in four runs in the win along with his sixth homer of the year. Reynolds added two hits and three RBI, including his team-best eighth home run of the year. Campbell’s three hits and three runs matched his career-bests.
Patrick Raby picked up his fifth win of the year, pitching two scoreless innings of relief. Stone allowed three runs on five hits over three innings as the first of six Vanderbilt pitchers on the day.
Gilbert took the loss for the Tigers allowing three runs on four hits. Robertson led the way at the plate with three hits and two RBI.
Vanderbilt returns home to Hawkins Field on Tuesday night against Middle Tennessee at 6:30 p.m.