Commodores cruise to series win over Tennessee

NASHVILLE, Tenn. – No. 2 Vanderbilt jumped on Tennessee in the first inning for seven runs en route to a 14-3 series clinching victory on Sunday at a sold-out Hawkins Field.

The Commodores (22-6, 7-2) wasted no time, sending nine men to the plate in the first inning to score seven runs. Back-to-back, one-out singles from Rhett Wiseman and Dansby Swanson started the rally with a Zander Wiel double scoring the first run of the game. A Tennessee error plated two more runs and a walk to Tyler Campbell reloaded the bases for Karl Ellison. The sophomore capped the rally in grand fashion with his first career grand slam to left-center field to make it 7-0 Commodores after one inning. Ellison’s grand slam comes days after he hit his first career home run at Middle Tennessee State.

The VU offense was back at it again in the next inning when Swanson led off with a single and was followed by Zander Wiel’s team-best fifth homer of the year. Wiel’s two-run shot found the back of the bleachers in left field for a 9-0 Vandy lead. The Dores added three more in the fifth when Swanson and Wiel hit consecutive doubles and Bryan Reynolds followed with an infield single to score Wiel with two outs.

Wiel finished the day 4-for-5 with four RBI, three runs scored and a triple shy of the cycle. Swanson added a career-best four runs going 3-for-4 as Wiseman, Swanson, Wiel and Reynolds combined to go 12-for-19 with nine runs and seven RBI. Ellison chipped in his fifth two-hit game of the season with his career-best four RBI.

Ryan Johnson picked up the win in relief allowing one run on three hits over four frames. The lefty entered in the fifth and allowed only a hit batter to come around to score in the sixth over his four innings. Vandy starter Jordan Sheffield struggled with command walking a career-high six over four-plus innings. The freshman allowed two runs with three strikeouts in his fourth start of the year.

Tennessee starter Hunter Martin was pegged with the loss allowing six runs, four earned, on three hits while recording just one out.

Vanderbilt returns to action on Tuesday night against Wofford as part of a two-game midweek series. First pitch is set for 6:30 p.m. on SEC Network+ for both games against the Terriers.