ATHENS, Ga. – The Vanderbilt baseball team held on for an 11-9 win over No. 22 Georgia on Friday evening at Foley Field. With the win, the Commodores improve to 30-14 on the season, including an 11-11 record in SEC play.
Offense was the highlight of Friday’s series opener, as the two teams combined for 20 runs and 30 hits on the evening. At least one run was scored in seven of the nine innings, while the two teams traded runs in five of those frames.
Five Commodores recorded multi-hit outings, while seven of nine starters registered at least one hit. The offensive effort was led by Enrique Bradfield Jr., who went for 4-for-5 with a team-high four runs scored. The duo of Spencer Jones and Javier Vaz recorded three hits each, while Calvin Hewett and Dominic Keegan registered two hits apiece.
Sophomore right-hander Christian Little (1-1) made his first start on the year and picked up the win. Vanderbilt used a total of four pitchers in the contest, including Nelson Berkwich, Nick Maldonado and Thomas Schultz.
Schultz held the Bulldogs hitless across the final 1.2 innings to notch his seventh save on the year.
Vanderbilt struck first on Friday with one run in the second. Vaz registered his fourth homer on the season with a solo shot to right field to put Vandy in front, 1-0.
Georgia answered back with a run of its own in the home half to even the score. A bases-loaded groundout brought one run across for the Bulldogs to knot things at one apiece after two full.
The Commodores returned to the dish to add three runs in the third. Bradfield led off the frame with a single up the middle before advancing to second on his 29th stolen base on the year. After Bradfield advanced to third on a failed pickoff attempt by the Georgia pitcher, Jones lined an RBI double to the left center gap to score one.
One batter later, Keegan connected on the first pitch of the at-bat with a two-run homer over the left field fence to push Vanderbilt’s lead to 4-1.
Georgia plated single tallies in both the third and fourth to chip away at the Commodore lead. The Bulldogs used an RBI double to score one in the third before a solo home run in the fourth made it a 4-3 ballgame.
The two teams scored one run each in the fifth. Jones reached on a leadoff walk in the top half before advancing into scoring position on a groundout from Keegan. One out later, Vaz picked up his second RBI on the day with a double to right center to score Jones and extend Vandy’s lead to 5-3.
Georgia got the run back in the home half to make it a one-run contest. After a one-out double placed a runner in scoring position for the Bulldogs, a two-out single through the left side scored one to move the score to 5-4.
The Commodores and Bulldogs traded runs once again in the sixth, scoring three runs apiece. Vandy used a two-out rally in the top half, as Bradfield reached on a single before stealing second and advancing to third on a throwing error by the Georgia catcher. Hewett kept the inning alive by beating out an infield single to the shortstop, which allowed Bradfield to come across and score.
The next two Vandy hitters reached base as Jones singled to center and Keegan was intentionally walked. Jack Bulger followed with a ground-rule double to right field to score two and increase the lead to 8-4.
After a fielding error by the Vanderbilt second baseman placed a runner on first with one down, an RBI double down the left field line scored the first run of the sixth for Georgia. The Bulldogs scored two more in the frame on another RBI double and an RBI single to bring the score to 8-7.
The two offenses continued their scoring in the seventh, as Vanderbilt plated two in the top half. The inning began with back-to-back walks to Jonathan Vastine and Davis Diaz to place runners on first and second. One batter later, Bradfield recorded his fourth hit on the night with an RBI single to score one. One batter later, Hewett scored the second run of the frame with an RBI single to put Vandy ahead, 10-7, heading into the stretch.
Georgia responded in the bottom of the inning with two runs of its own. The frame began with back-to-back hits – a single and a double – resulting in one run scored. Two outs later, an RBI single scored another run for the Bulldogs to set the score at 10-9.
The Commodores added insurance with one run in the ninth. Bradfield reached on leadoff walk before stealing second for his third stolen base on the evening. Two outs later, Keegan lined a single to center field to plate Bradfield and move the score to 11-9, the eventual final.
The two teams will return to the diamond tomorrow for Game 2 of the series. First pitch is set for 1 p.m. CT with action airing live on SEC Network+.