NASHVILLE, Tenn. – No. 6 Vanderbilt dug itself a pair of early deficits and was unable to complete the comeback, dropping the series finale while seeing its seven-game win streak snapped with a 7-6 loss to Tennessee on Sunday afternoon at Hawkins Field.
Trailing by a run in the eighth, Vanderbilt’s Walker Grisanti was cut down at the plate after attempting to score from first base on a two-out double into the left-field corner by Julian Infante. Austin Martin reached on a single in the ninth but was left stranded there.
Commodore starter Kumar Rocker (2-3) permitted 10 hits and seven runs (six earned) across 3.2 innings. Tennessee (21-8, 3-6 SEC) struck for three runs in the first and two more in the second. The Volunteers’ five hits in the first were the most by an opponent in a single frame this season.
Philip Clarke (3-for-4) finished a double shy of the cycle and contributed four RBIs. The sophomore evened the gamed with his 11th career home run – a three-run shot – into the right field bleachers in the first inning. He led off the fourth with a triple and added an infield single in the fifth.
The Commodores (22-6, 6-3 SEC) scored twice in the fifth, cutting their deficit to 7-6. JJ Bleday swatted a changeup into center field, scoring Cooper Davis who reached on a bunt single. Two batters later, Clarke reached on a two-out, infield single that brought home Martin (single).
Vanderbilt did not permit a hit following the fourth inning. Reliever Jake Eder retired all 13 batters faced and struck out five in 4.1 innings before Tyler Brown tossed a perfect ninth.
In his return to the lineup, Martin collected three hits and scored two runs. The sophomore extended his hit streak to 11 games while matching Ethan Paul for the team lead with 13 multi-hit performances. Dominic Keegan recorded his first career hit, coming in the eighth.
Vandy’s top five batters finished 10-for-23 and scored all six runs while the bottom of the order finished a combined 2-for-14. Infante added a hit for the eighth time in the last 10 games and drew Vanderbilt’s lone free pass while batting in the nine-hole.
The Commodores chased Tennessee starter Will Neely from the game after 4.2 innings. The right-hander allowed six runs on seven hits. Reliever Garrett Crochet (3-1) came in and settled things down, scattering four hits across 4.1 scoreless frames.
Vanderbilt caps its four-game homestand on Tuesday, hosting Western Kentucky at 6:30 p.m. from Hawkins Field. The matchup will be streamed on the SEC Network Plus and can be heard on WNSR 560 AM/95.9 FM and nationally on VUCommodores.com.