NASHVILLE – Vanderbilt used two swings of the bat and stellar relief pitching to halt its midweek woes, defeating Western Kentucky 3-2 on Tuesday night at Hawkins Field.
The No. 15 Commodores (20-13) overcame a two-run deficit, scoring three runs in the sixth courtesy of a leadoff home run from Pat DeMarco and go-ahead, two-run homer off the bat of Connor Kaiser to snap a five-game losing streak in midweek games.
Four Commodore pitchers tossed two innings each including Aaron Brown, who was first out of the bullpen inheriting the bases loaded with no outs in the third. The freshman punched out two straight on six-consecutive strikes before inducing a fly out to keep a scoreless game intact.
WKU (15-17) brought two unearned runs home in the fifth as the first three batters reached against Hugh Fisher on a walk, hit by pitch and an error at third base, which plated the game’s first run. Richard Constantine lined a two-out, RBI-single into right for the second.
Vandy stranded runners in scoring position in each of the first four innings before finally breaking through in the sixth. With a 0-2 count, DeMarco unloaded on a hanging breaking ball to get the Dores on the board. Stephen Scott followed, reaching on a swing-and-miss strike three as the ball trickled to the backstop. That set the stage for Kaiser who belted his first pitch into the left field bleachers for the 3-2 advantage. The long ball proved enough for relievers Reid Schaller and Zach King, who did not allow a base runner over the final three frames.
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King locked up his third save of the season, tossing two perfect frames while striking out four. Fisher (1-0) picked up his first collegiate victory, allowing one hit and two unearned runs while striking out two and walking as many in two innings.
Kaiser notched his team-leading ninth multi-RBI game in a 1-for-2 performance while driving in a pair on his second-career homer and first since May 23, 2017 against South Carolina.
DeMarco’s long ball was his fourth of the season and second in the last three games. The freshman finished 1-for-4 with a run and RBI. He was one of six Commodores to record a hit on the night.
The Dores limited the Hilltoppers to three hits, the lowest for a nine-inning game since matching the feat against No. 25 Duke on Opening Day. Constantine drove in Western Kentucky’s lone RBI and finished 1-for-4. WKU reliever Michael Martin (0-1) was saddled with the loss, allowing two hits and three runs while walking one and striking out a pair in one inning of work.
Vanderbilt returns to action this weekend, hosting fifth-ranked Ole Miss for three games beginning Friday at 6:30 p.m. Saturday’s middle game is set for 2 p.m. while Sunday’s nationally-televised game will be at 4 p.m. on ESPNU.