Volunteers hold off
By Jimmy Jones
Special to CollegeBaseballInsider.com
Tenn. - The Vanderbilt Commodores will have to wait at least one
more day before clinching a spot in the SEC tournament after
stranding 11 base runners, including three in the bottom of the
ninth with nobody out, in an 8-6 loss to the Tennessee
Volunteers Thursday night at Hawkins Field.
The Commodores entered the game with the knowledge that a
combination of a Kentucky loss to Florida and a win over
Tennessee would earn them the eighth and final berth in Hoover
and left it without accomplishing their goal, losing to the Vols
for just the second time in the past nine meetings between the
Tennessee got on the board first when Cody Brown doubled off the
left field wall and third baseman Cody Hawn homered for a 2-0
The Orange and White tacked on another run in the second on hits
by Cody Grisham and Zach Osborne to up the score to 3-0.
Hawn hit a prodigious blast over the light pole in right
centerfield, his second of the game and 22nd of the season, on
the first pitch he saw from Vanderbilt starter Sonny Gray in the
third inning for a four-run cushion for the Volunteers.
Jason Esposito reached on an error after striking out in the
Commodore fourth and advanced on a Jonathan White groundout. Joe
Loftus plated Esposito with a double into left field before
Brian Harris hit a grounder that the Volunteer third baseman
couldn't handle for an error allowing Loftus to score to cut the
lead to 4-2.
Left-hander Grayson Garvin relieved Gray in the fifth and
retired the side in order for the first time in the game for VU.
Commodores entered the sixth with a 6-4 advantage thanks to an
RBI double by White (left) but couldn't hold it when Garvin
plunked Blake Forsyth after retiring the first batter he faced
to start the inning.
Forsyth scored on a single by P.J. Polk to cut the lead to one
before hits by Grisham and Osborne to put the Vols up 7-6.
Tennessee scored their eighth run in the eighth inning on a
sacrifice fly by Polk.
Vanderbilt gave itself a shot to win the game as it loaded the
bases in the ninth but could not get the clutch hit it needed as
Giobbi popped up and Esposito went down swinging for the first
White's bid to tie the game died at the base of the left field
wall and into the glove of Tennessee outfielder Polk to end the
Garvin (0-1) picked up the loss for VU.
Nick Hernandez (4-5) (pictured above) threw eight innings to
earn the win for the UT. He allowed ten hits and six runs, three
earned, struck out seven and walked five.
The two teams continue the series Friday at 6. Junior
left-hander Mike Minor takes the hill for the Commodores.
Tennessee has not announced a starter.
(photos courtesy of Jimmy Jones)