Nashville, Tenn. - Vanderbilt finished off a series sweep of No. 22 Ole Miss Saturday afternoon at Hawkins field with a 6-3 victory.
The game was delayed for two hours when a thunderstorm popped up as game time approached. After the storm passed, the Rebels (34-22, 14-16) wasted no time scoring a run in the first inning to take their first lead of the weekend. Vanderbilt (29-25, 16-14) immediately responded in the bottom of the first when Tony Kemp led off with a single. Kemp then stole second went to third on a throwing error and scored on a wild pitch to tie the game. The Commodores took the lead in the second on a Connor Harrell solo home run and widened the gap in the third on Riley Reynolds clutch two-run double down the right field line.
The Rebels scratched out a run in the fifth on a groundout to third to close within two runs before Anthony Gomez's RBI-single in the sixth pushed the lead back to three runs. A two-out rally in the eighth added an insurance run for VU when Kemp singled, stole second and scored on Mike Yastrzemski double to deep center field. Ole Miss made it interesting in the ninth loading the bases to bring the tying run to the plate but Matt Snyder's deep fly ball to right field fell just short of the wall and into Yastrzemski's glove for the second out. The sacrifice fly scored a run and brought in Will Clinard, who struck out Will Allen to end the game and earn Clinard's fourth save of the season.
Kevin Ziomek (4-6) picked up the win with five-plus solid innings, giving up two runs on seven hits and two walks. The lefty settled down after a rocky first inning to keep the Rebels off the scoreboard for the next three innings. Ole Miss starter R.J. Hively (5-5) took the loss allowing four runs, three earned, on six hits over 3.1 innings. Vandy freshman Brian Miller turned in 2.2 scoreless innings out of the bullpen.
Kemp led the way for the Dores' offense with a huge day matching a season-best with four hits, stealing three bases and scoring three runs. The VU second baseman posted two doubles and a single in the win. Anthony Gomez and Conrad Gregor each added two hits with Gomez moving into sole possession of ninth place on Vanderbilt's all-time hits list with 256 for his career. Tanner Mathis and Auston Bousfield paced the Rebels with three hits apiece.
The win secured the five seed for the Commodores in next week's Southeastern Conference Tournament in Hoover, Ala. Vanderbilt will play eighth-seeded Georgia in the final game on Tuesday night at Regions Park.
The series sweep pushed the Dores' winning streak to a season-best five games and marked the first time this season Ole Miss had been swept. The sweep was also the first SEC sweep of the season for VU and first since sweeping LSU last April. Vanderbilt enters the SEC Tournament having won 12 of the team's final 15 games of the regular season and going 10-5 in the second half of SEC play.