Dores hold off Redbirds to clinch series

NASHVILLE, Tenn. – Top-ranked Vanderbilt scored a pair of runs in the first inning and held on to clinch the series with a 3-2 victory over Illinois State at Hawkins Field on Saturday.

The Commodores (8-2) picked up where they left off Friday night in a 16-1 win over the Redbirds (4-4) with Bryan Reynolds leading off the bottom of the first with a double. Rhett Wiseman followed with a single and Dansby Swanson singled to score Reynolds for an early Commodore lead. A sacrifice fly from freshman Will Toffey made it 2-0 but the Vandy offense went cold over the next three innings, managing just one base runner. Reynolds sparked a two-out rally when he doubled for the second time in the game to score Jason Delay all the way from first.

In the top of the sixth the Redbirds threatened to get back in the game when they chased Vanderbilt starter John Kilichowski from the game with one out and runners on the corners. Jordan Sheffield entered and quickly diffused the situation with a strikeout and a ground ball to end the threat. Sheffield, however, found trouble the very next inning losing control with a pair of walks to load the bases after a single. Illinois State leadoff hitter Daniel Dwyer legged out an infield single against new Vandy pitcher Philip Pfeifer to score two runs and cut the VU lead to a single run. But Pfeifer responded to get the next out and end the threat. The lefty then pitched around a lead off single in the eighth and a one-out walk in the ninth to notch his second save of the season.

Kilichowski earned his first career win with 5.1 scoreless innings of work. The big lefty allowed only two hits and struck out six to notch the victory. Kilichowski, Sheffield and Pfeifer combined to strike out 11 batters on the afternoon.

Reynolds led the way for the Vanderbilt offense with two doubles in the game and now has a team-best five on the season.

Illinois State starter Jacob Hendren took the loss allowing three runs on five hits over six innings. Dwyer led the Redbirds with two hits and two RBI.

The Commodores wrap up the series tomorrow afternoon at 1 p.m. against Illinois State with freshman Kyle Wright on the mound against Redbirds’ right-hander Jack Landwehr.