NASHVILLE, Tenn. – Vanderbilt fell 6-2 to top-ranked Tennessee in Game 1 of the three-game series on Friday evening at Hawkins Field.
Tennessee used a four-run fifth inning to chase Vanderbilt starter Chris McElvain (4-1), as the junior right-hander suffered his first loss on the season. McElvain totaled eight strikeouts and allowed five hits over 4.2 innings.
The Volunteers took a 2-0 lead in the top of the second on a two-run homer down the line in right by Luc Lipcius. Vandy responded with a run in the third to cut the deficit in half.
Enrique Bradfield Jr. singled with one out in the inning. He then stole second and third on consecutive pitches before scoring on a Davis Diaz groundout to make it a 2-1 game.
The Volunteers scored four runs on four hits in the fifth to regain momentum. Three of Tennessee’s four hits in the frame went for extra bases, including a two-run double and an RBI triple. A wild pitch crossed the fourth and final run of the inning for the Volunteers to increase their lead to 6-1.
Vanderbilt got a run back in the home half. Javier Vaz drew a walk, stole second and advanced to third on a groundout. Carter Young singled to plate Vaz and set the score at 6-2, the eventual final.
The Commodores had baserunners in three of the final four innings, but were unable to capitalize.
Hunter Owen threw 4.1 scoreless innings in relief for Vandy. Owen struck out a career-high seven and limited Tennessee to two hits.
Vanderbilt and Tennessee meet for Game 2 of the series at 7 p.m. CT on Saturday with action airing live on SEC Network.