Big inning dooms Dores in opener at Auburn

AUBURN, Ala. – Auburn rallied for five runs in the sixth inning and held off No. 4 Vanderbilt to win the series opener 6-4 Friday night at Plainsman Park.

The Commodores (17-5, 3-1) took their first lead in the top of the sixth inning when Dansby Swanson led off the frame with a solo shot over the left field wall for a 2-1 VU lead. The lead, however, was short-lived as the Tigers (15-7, 1-3) rallied for five runs in the bottom of the inning to take the lead for good. Carson Fulmer yielded a leadoff triple to Damon Haecker but the inning began to unravel when Will Toffey’s throw on a ground ball was wide of the bag at first allowing the run to score and Cody Nulph to reach second base. Fulmer was en route to escaping the jam with the bases loaded and two outs but Kyler Deese came up with the big hit for the Tigers, lining a three-run double just inside the left field line for a 5-2 Auburn lead. Melvin Gray followed with a single up the middle to push the lead to 6-2 and end Fulmer’s night.

The Commodores mounted a two-out rally in the seventh with Rhett Wiseman coming through with a RBI-single but the inning came to a close with the bases loaded on a strikeout. Bryan Reynolds led off the eighth with a double before Nolan Rogers came up with the clutch two-out RBI-single. The Dores put the leadoff man on in the ninth but a strikeout and a double play ended the threat and the game.

Fulmer was pinned with his first loss of the season allowing a career-high six runs, one earned, on seven hits. The right-hander fanned eight with three walks. The Vandy bullpen combined to record the final seven outs with Collin Snider, Philip Pfeifer and Kyle Wright keeping the Dores in the game.

Reynolds led the offense with two hits, reaching base in all four of his plate appearances. Swanson and Wiel each hit their third home runs of the season in the loss that snapped Vanderbilt’s six-game winning streak.

Keegan Thompson earned the win for the Tigers giving up three runs on seven hits with eight strikeouts over 6.2 innings. Cole Lipscomb worked the final 2.1 innings to record his first save of the year.

The Commodores and Tigers have scheduled a day-night doubleheader for tomorrow with the first game set for 2 p.m. on SEC Network+ and the nightcap slated for 7 p.m. on ESPNU. Walker Buehler gets the ball for Vandy in the first game against Trey Wingenter. Jordan Sheffield gets his third start of the season in the second game against Auburn’s Rocky McCord.