Knoxville, Tenn. – No. 4 Vanderbilt used a strong outing from starter Jordan Sheffield along with a first inning home run from Bryan Reynolds to win the series opener at Tennessee 6-0 Friday night at Lindsey Nelson Stadium.
The Commodores (30-8, 10-6) jumped on the Volunteers (21-17, 4-12) early with Ro Coleman doubling to start the game. Jeren Kendall reached on an error to put Commodores on the corners for Bryan Reynolds, who smashed his Southeastern Conference leading ninth home run of the season over the wall in right-center field for a quick 3-0 Vandy lead before an out was ever recorded.
Handed a lead before ever touching the ball, Sheffield went to work against the Tennessee lineup. The right-hander breezed through a 1-2-3 first inning with a pair of strikeouts and cruised into the seventh inning with Tennessee never threatening with only two base runners. Sheffield gave up a leadoff single to open the seventh inning and with one out issued his only walk of the night to put two Volunteers on the bases for the first time. A fielder’s choice to Will Toffey at third recorded the second out before Sheffield got a line out to Ro Coleman in left field to end the inning and the threat.
The Commodores widened the lead in the eighth inning thanks to a clutch two-out, RBI-single by Jason Delay to score Connor Kaiser, who led off the inning with a double. Vanderbilt tacked on two more runs in the eighth inning without a hit to set the final score.
Sheffield was dominant for the second straight week in earning his team-best sixth win of the year. The right-hander now has a streak of 17 consecutive scoreless innings after his first career shutout last week against Kentucky. He scattered three hits on Friday night and struck out four to push his total to 18 over his last two starts.
Reynolds’ ninth homer of the year matches his career total from his first two seasons at Vanderbilt. The Brentwood, Tenn. native pulls even with Texas A&M’s Hunter Melton for the league lead and extended his season-best hitting streak to 10 games. Coleman posted two hits in the win for his first multi-hit game since March 27.
Tennessee starter Aaron Soto took the loss allowing four runs, three earned, on five hits over 7.2 innings. Chris Hall recorded two of the Volunteers’ four hits in the game.
The Commodores and Volunteers play tomorrow afternoon at 3 p.m. CT on SEC Network+ with Kyle Wright getting the ball for VU against Tennessee’s Zach Warren.