Big innings doom Dores in loss to Tennessee

NASHVILLE, Tenn. – A pair of big innings doomed No. 2 Vanderbilt on Saturday in a 9-5 loss to Tennessee at Hawkins Field, evening the series at one game apiece.

The Commodores (21-6, 6-2) struck first in the second inning when freshman Will Toffey failed to get down a sacrifice bunt. But the Dores’ third baseman responded by hitting his first career home run into the right field bleachers for a 3-0 Vandy lead. The lead, however, was short-lived as Tennessee (11-12, 2-6) took advantage of a two-out error to score five unearned runs in the third inning and take the lead.

Vanderbilt bounced back in the bottom half of the third with two runs to tie the game. Rhett Wiseman’s one-out single started the rally and Dansby Swanson’s walk put the tying run aboard. After a Tennessee error allowed Wiseman to score, Bryan Reynolds tied the game with a RBI-triple to right field.

The game remained even at 5-5 until the eighth inning when Tennessee put five straight runners on against Vandy reliever Philip Pfeifer. Tennessee took the lead on Jordan Rodgers’ fielder’s choice and put the game away with Vincent Jackson’s two-run, rally-capping single to center.

Pfeifer was pinned with the loss allowing four runs on four hits over 3.1 innings. Vanderbilt starter Walker Buehler allowed five unearned runs and struck out seven with no walks over 5.2 innings. Bryan Reynolds extended his hitting streak to 12 games with a first-pitch single to left field in the second inning. Toffey had two hits along with Wiseman in the loss.

Kyle Serrano picked up the win in relief for Tennessee working 1.2 perfect innings. Starter Drake Owenby allowed five runs on four hits over 2.2 innings. Andrew Lee led the offense with three hits and two RBI.

The Commodores and Volunteers are set to decide the series tomorrow at 2:30 p.m. on the SEC Network. Jordan Sheffield gets the ball for the home team against Tennessee’s Hunter Martin.