Knoxville, Tenn. – A three-run sixth inning doomed No. 4 Vanderbilt in a 5-3 loss at Tennessee on Sunday afternoon.
The Commodores (30-10, 10-8) put a two-out rally together in the top of the sixth to reclaim the lead. Will Toffey’s second single of the game came with two down in front of Walker Grisanti. Getting his first start in left field since March 12, the freshman smashed a deep fly ball to center field that Tennessee (23-17, 6-12) center fielder Brodie Leftridge could not track down at the wall landing for a RBI-triple to put VU in front.
Back in the lead, Vanderbilt turned to closer Ben Bowden to start the bottom of the sixth inning. The big lefty quickly found trouble with Benito Santiago hitting a leadoff double to center field to lead off the inning. A sacrifice bunt pushed him to third before a Nick Senzel sacrifice fly to right field tied the game. With two down, the Volunteers ignited a two-rally of their own started by an infield single by Vincent Jackson, who reached on a close call at first. Bowden walked the next batter before hitting the next to load the bases. After a lengthy battle with Derek Lance, Bowden walked him to force in the go-ahead run. A single from Jared Pruett pushed the Tennessee lead to two runs before Bowden get out of the long inning.
Vanderbilt mounted a rally in the eighth inning, loading the bases with two outs but Connor Kaiser struck out to leave the bases loaded.
Bowden took the loss allowing three runs on four hits over 1.1 innings of relief. Freshman Patrick Raby turned in a solid outing in his second straight Sunday start, allowing two runs on two hits with five strikeouts over five innings. Toffey and Grisanti each had two hits in the loss. Jeren Kendall hit his seventh home run of the season in the third inning with a solo shot to right field that made it 2-0 Vanderbilt.
Will Neely picked up the win for Tennessee allowing three runs, two earned, on six hits over six innings. Andy Cox recorded his second save in as many days getting the final four outs.
Vanderbilt returns home to Hawkins Field on Tuesday to host Austin Peay at 1 p.m. on SEC Network+.