Jackson Gillis tossed three scoreless innings and Connor Kaiser and Cooper Davis knocked in a pair of runs to lead Team Black to a series-clinching 5-4 win Wednesday night at Hawkins Field.
After dropping game one last week, Team Black came back with three consecutive wins to secure the win in Vanderbilt’s annual Black and Gold Series to close the fall ball schedule.
Gillis set the tone early when he escaped a first-inning jam. After a Pat DeMarco walk and Ethan Paul double put runners at second and third to start the game for Team Gold, Gillis struck out three straight batters to get out of the frame. The left-hander delivered a scoreless second before his offense went to work.
JJ Bleday started the bottom of the second with a base hit, then promptly swiped second base. Harrison Ray was hit by a pitch and Davis singled to center to load the bases for Austin Martin. The freshman came through with a base hit through the left side to score Bleday and make it 1-0.
A base running mistake cost Team Black the first out of the inning, but Kaiser picked up his teammates when he drilled a pitch from Zach King off the left-field wall for a two-run double and 3-0 lead.
Walker Grisanti sparked a rally in the third when he worked a two-out walk off Reid Schaller. Ray followed with a single to left-center to put Grisanti at third. With Davis batting, Ray swiped second base to put a pair of runners in scoring position. The move paid off when Davis sent a pitch from Schaller up the middle, scoring both runners to extend the lead to 5-0.
Gillis finished his day with three scoreless innings. He allowed two hits and two walks while racking up six strikeouts.
Team Gold broke through against right-hander Chandler Day with the help of some shaky defense in the fourth. A passed ball netted Gold their first run of the night, and a costly error cut the deficit to 5-2. Ethan Paul made the miscues hurt when he lined a two-run double to left field to make it a 5-4 game.
It stayed there as a pair of freshman arms went the rest of the way for the Black squad. Mason Hickman worked two scoreless innings and David Bates ended it with a scoreless seventh.
Kaiser and Davis combined for four hits and four RBI for Team Black. Paul went 2-for-4 with two doubles and two RBI for Team Gold.