May 6, 2014
Nashville, Tenn. - No. 18 Vanderbilt dropped a shootout against No. 10 Louisville 11-7 on Tuesday night at Hawkins Field in the Battle of the Barrel.
Both teams lit up the scoreboard from the beginning with the Cardinals (38-11) racing out to an early lead against Commodores' (36-13) starter Walker Buehler, scoring three runs capped by Alex Cittenden's two-run homer. The Dores, however, bounced back immediately in the bottom of the inning. Dansby Swanson and John Norwood each singled to open the frame and were followed by a single from Zander Wiel to load the bases in front of Vince Conde. The junior delivered in a big way with a grand slam off the left field scoreboard to put the Commodores in front. The slam was the first for Vandy this season and first since Conde belted one against Middle Tennessee last season.
The Dores' lead, however, was short-lived as the Cardinals batted around in the third inning and chased Buehler from the game. Colin Lyman's two-run double was the second double of the inning and Corey Ray's single cut Buehler's night short. But once again, the Commodores rallied back in the bottom of the inning using the long ball. Bryan Reynolds worked a leadoff walk in front of Wiel, who blasted his third home run of the season for a two-run shot to cut the deficit to a single run. Conde followed with a single and moved to second on a sacrifice bunt but was stranded at second as the tying run.
The Commodores missed multiple opportunities in the loss, leaving 11 runners on base in the game - including the bases loaded in the sixth. Chris Harvey singled to lead off the inning but Louisville second baseman Zach Lucas flashed the leather on a ball hit up the middle by Reynolds, diving and throwing out the runner at second for the first out. Lucas' play saved a run and allowed the Cardinals to get out of the jam with a 9-7 lead after six innings. In the seventh the Dores had a two-out rally started and looked to have a chance to tie the game when Norwood hit a ball down the first base line with two runners aboard, but again the Cardinals' defense rose to the challenge with first baseman Grant Kay making a diving stop and recording the final out of the inning.
Six different Commodores recorded hits led by Chris Harvey's three-hit night that matched a career-best. Swanson, Norwood, Wiel and Conde all posted two hits apiece. Conde's four-RBI game is his second of the season and third by the team. Cole Sturgeon paced the Louisville offense with three doubles and four runs scored.
Buehler took the loss for the Commodores, just his second of the season, allowing a career-high seven runs on six hits over 2.2 innings. Brandon Alphin picked up the win out of the Louisville bullpen with 2.1 innings of scoreless relief.
Vanderbilt returns to the road for conference play this weekend with a trip to No. 4 Florida. The Commodores and Gators square off on national television Thursday night at 7:30 p.m. CT on ESPNU. The two teams play Friday night at 6 p.m. CT and wrap up the series on Saturday on Fox SportsNet at 11 a.m. CT.