Nashville, Tenn. -- No. 11 Vanderbilt could not climb out of an early hole on Tuesday afternoon in an 8-5 loss to No. 6 Louisville in the Battle of the Barrel at Hawkins Field.
Commodores' (36-13) freshman shortstop Connor Kaiser made his first error since taking over the starting shortstop job 17 games ago when his throw sailed high to allow Nick Solak to reach to start the Cardinals' (39-10) second inning. Fellow freshman Donny Everett then issued a walk to put the first two runners aboard. A one-hopper back to Everett produced the first out of the inning at second base but the Commodores failed to turn two on the play. Everett struck out Danny Rosenbaum for the second out but a two-out, RBI-single by Colin Lyman put the Cards on the board with an unearned run. Drew Ellis made the error worse, hitting a three-run homer just over the left field wall to make it 4-0 Louisville. A Rosenbaum solo homer in the fourth made it 5-0 Louisville and ended Everett's afternoon.
Vanderbilt waited until the fifth inning to scratch out a pair of runs and get back in the ball game, mounting a two-out rally of their own. Jason Delay led off the inning by being hit by a pitch but was standing at second with two down when Jeren Kendall came up. The sophomore ripped a line drive just inside the first base bag for a triple to score Delay. Ethan Paul followed with his first hit of the day to score Kendall.
After a third Cardinals' homer in the top of the seventh, the Dores rallied to get back within two runs in the bottom of the inning. Kendall walked to follow a leadoff single by Tyler Campbell to put two runners aboard for Paul, who belted his fourth homer of the year with a three-run shot to left-center field. But after a single from Bryan Reynolds the next three Commodores went in order to finish the inning.
Louisville closer Nick Burdi worked the final two innings to record his seventh save of the season. Starter Kade McClure picked up his 10th win of the year working five innings and allowing two runs on three hits with eight strikeouts.
Everett took the loss allowing five runs, one earned, on six hits over three-plus innings. Ryan Johnson turned in three scoreless innings of relief out of the bullpen for the Dores. Paul drove in a career-high four runs as part of a two-hit game. Reynolds added two hits in the loss.
The Commodores return to the road this weekend at No. 1 Florida. The Dores and Gators open the series Friday night at 6 p.m. CT on SEC Network with all three games of the series broadcast on national television.