Fayetteville, Ark. – Vanderbilt watched a lead slip away in a 4-3 loss at No. 18 Arkansas on Friday night at Baum Stadium.
The Commodores (29-20, 12-12) vaulted into the lead in the second inning when Ethan Paul’s fifth homer of the year found it’s way into the trees beyond the right field wall to erase a 1-0 deficit and make it 2-1 VU. The Dores added a run in the fifth on a Jeren Kendall RBI-single through the right side to score Connor Kaiser, who led off the inning with his first triple of the year.
Vandy starter Patrick Raby allowed a first inning home run to Luke Bonfield but cruised into the seventh inning with a 3-1 lead. Arkansas (36-13, 15-9) second baseman Carson Shaddy, however, led off the seventh with a double to start trouble for Raby. Two batters later, the long ball cost Raby again when Dominic Fletcher launched a two-run homer to right-center to bring the Hogs even at 3-3.
The Commodores quickly had something cooking in the eighth when Ro Coleman walked to start the inning and moved to second when Kendall was hit by a pitch. The inning, however, just as quickly fizzled as Coleman was picked off second base before Infante hit into an inning-ending double play.
Freshman Zach King wrapped up the seventh and navigated a pair of base runners in the eighth inning to send the game to the ninth even, but Arkansas shortstop Jax Biggers’ one-out bloop double down the left field line jump started the Razorbacks’ offense in the ninth. After a walk, King got a pop up to put two outs on the board and two on before Reed Hayes was summoned from the bullpen. Bonfield wasted little time, hitting Hayes’ second pitch up the middle for a game-winning single.
King took the first loss of his career, allowing one run on two hits over two innings. Raby was solid over 6.2 innings of a no decision. The right-hander gave up three runs on seven hits with seven strikeouts. Paul led the offense with two hits and two RBIs as six different Commodores recorded hits in the loss.
Bonfield paced the Arkansas offense, driving in the first and last runs of the game with his two hits on the night. Kevin Kopps earned the win out of the bullpen with two scoreless innings. Arkansas starter Trevor Stephan gave up three runs on six hits with 11 strikeouts over seven innings.
The Commodores and Razorbacks pick the series back up tomorrow night at 6 p.m. on SEC Network+.