Dores survive to win opener at Georgia

ATHENS, Ga. – Top-ranked Vanderbilt used nine two-out runs and survived a late Georgia rally to win the series opener 9-7 Friday night at Foley Field.

Vanderbilt’s (25-6, 8-2) first inning offense carried over to Friday night as the Commodores plated three runs on a two-out Will Toffey double. Vandy has scored in the first inning in four straight games, racking up 14 runs in the opening frame. Toffey’s clutch two-out double was just the first of many big two-out hits for the Commodores in the win. Dansby Swanson added to the two-out theme in the second inning with his first double of the night to score Nolan Rogers and Ro Coleman.

Keegan McGovern brought the Bulldogs (18-13, 5-5) back into the game with a two-run homer in the second that bounced off the top of the center field wall. The Dores responded with a two-out single from Toffey in the fifth and looked to have put the game away in the sixth with three more runs. Back-to-back singles from Tyler Campbell and Coleman set up Swanson with two outs and the Marietta, Ga. native delivered with a double to right field. The Georgia defense collapsed on the play making two throwing errors on the play allowing all three Commodores to come around to score.

The Commodores needed those runs as the Bulldogs battled back in the bottom of the sixth with their own two-out offense. Vandy starter Carson Fulmer cruised into the sixth and recorded two quick outs but the right-hander created his own trouble after allowing a single, issuing a walk and hitting a batter to load the bases. Georgia took advantage with three straight hits to score three runs and climb back into the game. The Bulldogs climbed even closer in the seventh, taking advantage of Philip Pfeifer’s wildness after the lefty walked the first three batters he faced and allowed a two-run single up the middle.

Pfeifer, however, worked through the seventh then turned in on down the stretch, sitting the Bulldogs down in order in the eighth before striking out the side in the ninth to finish off the win and record his team-best fourth save.

Fulmer picked up the win despite allowing five runs on nine hits with seven strikeouts. Swanson reached base all five times in the win going 3-for-3 with three runs and three RBI. The junior is 11-for-15 with 10 runs scored over the last four games. Toffey’s four RBI night set a career-best for the freshman, who has eight RBI in his last five games. Vanderbilt’s balanced offensive attack featured seven different players contributing to the team’s 14-hit total. The Commodores have at least 10 hits in 18 games this season and 52 total hits during the team’s four-game winning streak.

Georgia starter Sean McLaughlin took the loss allowing nine runs on 10 hits over 5.2 innings. Daniel Nichols paced the Bulldogs with two hits, two runs and two RBI.

The two teams face off tomorrow at 1 p.m. CT on SEC Network+ with Walker Buehler getting the ball for Vanderbilt against Georgia lefty Ryan Lawlor.