NASHVILLE, Tenn. – Top-ranked Vanderbilt left runners in scoring position in five innings and could not overcome Illinois State’s early surge as the Commodores’ seven-game win streak was snapped with a 7-3 loss on Sunday afternoon at Hawkins Field.
Vandy (13-3) claimed the series with a pair of lopsided wins, including a 9-1 result earlier in the day, before stranding 10 runners in the matinee. Southpaw starter Zach King (0-1) was saddled with the loss, allowing five runs on four hits in 2.1 innings.
Ethan Paul (1-for-3) smacked his second home run of the season in the second inning. The two-run long ball temporarily provided Vandy a 2-1 advantage. In the next half inning, Illinois State scored four times on as many hits highlighted by four consecutive singles.
Reliever Ethan Smith allowed three hits and one run in 2.2 innings. Fellow freshman Kumar Rocker kept the Redbirds in check, scattering three hits while allowing one run in the final four innings.
JJ Bleday was the lone Commodore with multiple hits, collecting two alongside an RBI. Paul drove in a pair and was one of seven players with one hit.
Illinois State reliever Colton Johnson (2-0) secured the win, permitting just two hits and a walk while striking out four in three scoreless frames. Jacob Gilmore locked up his fourth save behind 1.1 hitless innings.
Vanderbilt caps its 15-game homestand on Tuesday, hosting Samford at 6:30 p.m. The game can be seen on the SEC Network Plus. Fans can also tune in to WNSR 560 AM/95.9 FM or visit VUCommodores.com for the call.