Dores hold off Bama, win SEC East

HOOVER, Ala. – No. 10 Vanderbilt jumped on Alabama early and held on for a 7-5 win Friday night at the Hoover Met to clinch the Southeastern Conference East division title and the series.

The Commodores (39-16, 20-9) jumped on Crimson Tide (29-26, 11-18) starter Jake Walters early and often scoring six runs on seven hits to chase the right-hander with just one out in the second inning. Ro Coleman led off the first with a solid single up the middle and scored on Dansby Swanson’s double. Swanson’s double was the first of three straight extra-base hits from the Dores with Wiel following with a run-scoring triple and Will Toffey making it 3-0 with a double down the right field line. Vandy followed up in the second with singles from Karl Ellison and Coleman in front of Rhett Wiseman, who tripled into the right field corner to push the lead to 5-1. Wiel beat out an infield single with two outs to plate Wiseman and push the lead to five runs.

The Tide, however, would not go quietly rallying for two runs in the fourth to cut the VU lead in half. After Alabama put the first two runners on via error and walk in the fifth, Commodores’ starter Philip Pfeifer’s night was done and Jordan Sheffield’s started with nobody out and two on. Sheffield struck out the first batter he faced but a wild pitch and grounder to second base pushed the Tide a run closer. Sheffield finished off the inning without further damage before giving up a leadoff double in the sixth to Will Haynie, who came around to score to trim the Dores’ lead to a single run.

Tyler Campbell came through with a loud insurance run in the eighth inning, launching his first career home run out to left field with two outs. Kyle Wright entered in the bottom of the inning and retired all six batters he faced over the final two innings with three strikeouts to notch his first career save. Sheffield picked up the win with three solid innings of relief, allowing one run on two hits.

The Commodores collected 12 hits in the win with five players posting two-hit games. Coleman scored two runs and Wiel drove in two to lead the way. Wiseman left the game in the sixth inning after fouling a ball off him self but drove in two runs in the win.

Walters took the loss allowing six runs on seven hits over 1.1 innings. Mikey White and Kyle Overstreet led the Tide with two hits apiece.

Vanderbilt can win the overall SEC title tomorrow with a win and LSU loss at South Carolina. The victory on Friday night clinched the East division title and no worse than the No. 2 seed in next week’s SEC Tournament.

Walker Buehler gets the ball for the Commodores tomorrow in the regular season finale against Alabama’s Geoffrey Bramblett. First pitch is set for 3:30 p.m. on SEC Network.