Commodores sweep doubleheader, take series at Auburn

AUBURN, Ala. – For the second straight Saturday, No. 4 Vanderbilt swept a conference doubleheader, beating Auburn 10-5 and surviving the nightcap 7-6 in 10 innings at Plainsman Park.

The Commodores (19-5, 5-1) cruised into the bottom of the ninth with a three-run lead looking to finish off the doubleheader sweep on a soggy Saturday night. But Ben Bowden was greeted by a triple down the right field line when Rhett Wiseman’s dive came up empty. The triple was the beginning of Bowden’s troubles as the lefty failed to record an out until the Tigers (15-9, 1-5) had tied the game at 6-6. Bowden finally recorded an out himself catching a weak pop up for the first out of the inning. He then struck out Sam Gillikin and caught Melvin Gray’s liner back to the mound to end the inning and leave the bases full of Tigers.

The Dores took control in the 10th when Wiseman laced a single into right field to lead off the inning. The junior then made a heady play going first to third on a Zander Wiel single to left field. With Wiseman on third and one out, Bryan Reynolds came through after a tough at-bat to deliver a sacrifice fly to center field to put Vandy back in front 7-6.

Back out for the 10th, Bowden’s defense picked him as third baseman Will Toffey robbed a base hit with a diving grab for the first out. Wiseman then finished off the win with a diving catch on a low liner to right field.

Bowden earned the win despite allowing three runs on four hits in two innings. Jordan Sheffield was strong over six innings in his third start allowing three runs on six hits with six strikeouts in a no decision.

Reynolds led the way with three RBI and two hits in the win. The sophomore had four hits and four RBI on the day, including a solo homer to center field in the nightcap. Reynolds went 9-for-14 with five runs scored and six RBI in the Dores’ four games this week.

In the first game of the day, the Commodores fell behind early with Auburn scoring two runs in the first off Walker Buehler. The Vandy offense, however, pulled the team in front with four runs in the third inning and put the game away late with four more runs over the final three innings. Wiel’s two-run single capped the four-run third inning and his solo homer in the seventh sparked a three-run inning that included Reynolds scoring from second base on a wild pitch.

Buehler picked up the victory with 5.2 innings of work allowing three runs on eight hits with five strikeouts. Philip Pfiefer finished off the win with 3.1 innings to notch his team-best third save.

Wiel’s solo homer was his second of the weekend and his three RBI led the way in the victory.

Auburn’s Trey Wingenter was pinned the loss in the opener allowing six runs, three earned, on five hits over 4.1 innings. Izaac Yarbrough took the second loss out of the Tigers’ bullpen giving up the winning run in the 10th. Daniel Robert’s four hits in the nightcap are the most by a Vanderbilt opponent this season.

The Commodores return to action Tuesday night at Middle Tennessee State at 6 p.m.