Commodores rally late to beat Blue Raiders

MURFREESBORO, Tenn. – No. 2 Vanderbilt used a seven-run eighth inning to erase an early four-run deficit to win at Middle Tennessee State 12-7 at Reese Smith Field on Tuesday night.

The Commodores (20-5) entered the eighth inning down 7-5 when the offense woke up. The rally started with Tyler Campbell’s first extra-base hit of the season when the junior laced a double to right field. Karl Ellison followed by blasting a 0-1 pitch opposite field over the right field wall for his first career home run to tie the game. Jeren Kendall quickly put the Dores on top for the first time, crushing his first career home run way out to right field for an 8-7 VU lead. The Commodores, however, were not done with Ro Coleman laying down a bunt single and moving to third on Rhett Wiseman’s double. The Blue Raiders (13-9) went back to the bullpen for Will Small, who issued a five-pitch walk to Dansby Swanson to load the bases. Zander Wiel capped the big inning, hitting a laser into the left-center field gap to clear the bases.

Kyle Wright responded in the MTSU half of the eighth by retiring the Blue Raiders in order and Ben Bowden worked around a one-out, infield single in the ninth to secure the Commodores’ eighth come-from-behind win of the season. The victory is also the third of the year for the team when trailing after six innings.

The bottom of the Vandy lineup produced in a big way Tuesday night with Ellison and Kendall combining to go 6-for-9 with seven RBI, including the duo’s first career home runs. Swanson scored three runs and added his fourth home run of the year with a solo shot in the fourth inning. Nine different Commodores recorded at least one hit in the win with the lineup posting Vanderbilt’s 15th game of at least 10 hits.

The Dores’ three home runs in the win are the most this season and ups the team’s total to 17 after hitting 22 all of last year. Ellison and Kendall became the first Commodores to hit back-to-back home runs since Spencer Navin and Vince Conde in 2013.

Wright picked up the victory with three no-hit innings out of the bullpen. Starter John Kilichowski allowed five runs, four earned, on seven hits over 3.2 innings.

Sam Alton took the loss for MTSU allowing five runs on eight hits over 2.1 innings. Jared Allen and Ronnie Jebavy each had two hits to lead the offense.

Vanderbilt returns to Hawkins Field this weekend to host Tennessee. First pitch on Friday is set for 6:30 p.m. on SEC Network+.