Commodores drop elimination game to Washington

June 4, 2016

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Highlights | Vanderbilt Press Conference | Washington Press Conference

Seeing a six-run lead slip away over the final four innings, No. 11-ranked Vanderbilt suffered a 9-8 loss to Washington in an elimination game on Saturday in the Nashville Regional at Hawkins Field.

Washington's Jack Meggs hit a two-run homer with one out in the bottom of the eighth to lift the Huskies (33-22) to the comeback victory.

The top-seeded Commodores -- who were playing with heavy hearts this weekend after the death of freshman pitcher Donny Everett on Thursday night -- finished the season with a 43-19 record.

Vanderbilt owned an 8-2 lead before Washington rallied with two runs in the sixth, three in the seventh and two more in the eighth to pull off the victory.

Vanderbilt, which fell into the elimination bracket after suffering a 15-1 loss to Xavier earlier on Saturday, failed to advance to the Super Regionals for the first time since 2012. The Commodores won the national title in 2014 and finished as the runner-up to Virginia last season.

Washington will play another elimination game on Sunday night against the loser of Sunday afternoon's UC-Santa Barbara vs. Xavier game.

The Huskies used a pair of clutch homers to fuel the comeback against the Commodores. Joey Morgan connected for a three-run shot with two outs in the bottom of the seventh to cut Vanderbilt's lead to 8-7, and Meggs hit his two-run shot off Matt Ruppenthal (5-2) in the bottom of the eighth. Meggs' homer gave the Huskies a 9-8 lead.

Washington reliever Spencer Jones allowed a two-out single to Ro Coleman in the top of the ninth but then got Tyler Campbell to fly out to right field to end it. Jones (6-2) worked 3 2-3 innings of scoreless relief to earn the win, allowing four hits and finishing with two walks and four strikeouts.

John Naff finished 2-for-4 with a solo homer and two runs scored for the Huskies. AJ Graffanino also went 2-for-4 with an RBI, and Gage Matuszak had two hits and scored a run. Meggs and Morgan drove in three runs each.

Washington second baseman Levi Jordan made one of the game's biggest defensive plays, when he made a diving stop to rob Will Toffey of a potential two-run single in the top of the eighth. Vanderbilt had runners at second and third with one out in the inning, but was unable to score.

Ethan Paul had a big night for the Commodores, collecting a career-high four hits. The freshman went 4-for-5 with three runs and an RBI. Ro Coleman added three hits and scored a run, and Toffey had three RBIs. Jeren Kendall was 2-for-4 with two RBIs, and Tyler Campbell had two hits and scored two runs.

Vanderbilt starter Kyle Wright went 6 2-3 innings, and was charged with seven runs, all earned, on eight hits with five walks and eight strikeouts. He threw 122 pitches, 70 for strikes.

The Commodores broke a 1-1 tie by scoring four runs in the top of the fifth. Vanderbilt opened the inning with four straight hits -- singles by Coleman and Campbell, followed by Paul's RBI single and Kendall's run-scoring double -- to take a 3-1 lead. Toffey then drove in two more runs with a single to center field that Washington's Meggs appeared to lose in the lights.

Vanderbilt added three more runs in the top of the sixth -- on Bryan Reynolds' two-run single and Toffey's sacrifice fly -- to extend the lead to 8-2 before Washington put together the late-inning rally.



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