NASHVILLE, Tenn. — Visiting Georgia was rarely threatened Saturday in a 9-1 win at Hawkins Field over Vanderbilt. The defeat handed the Commodores their first SEC series loss at home since April 27-29, 2018 against South Carolina.
Vandy (25-5, 9-3 SEC) lost the opener 14-2 before winning the middle matchup 5-2. But Saturday the Dores continued to struggle with runners on as they stranded seven men – they left 28 on for the series.
With regulars Cooper Davis, Isaiah Thomas and Tate Kolwyck all out of the lineup, Vanderbilt scored just eight runs in three game against Georgia. It came into the weekend averaging 7.3 runs per game against SEC competition.
“It was a tough week for us all the way around,” Vanderbilt head coach Tim Corbin said. “You have to go back to Tuesday (a 5-4 win over Tennessee Martin), I didn’t think we performed well there and we certainly didn’t perform well throughout the week. Now, you got to give Georgia credit though – I don’t want to just lean on our guys because our guys work on it a whole lot.
“We’ll improve. We will. We’ll improve throughout the year, but there’s certainly some inexperience in the lineup which provided a lot of holes. It was just tough to muster up any type of offense.”
Vandy is back in action at 6:30 p.m. Tuesday when it hosts Eastern Kentucky (9-20). The squad then begins its toughest test of the season when it travels to Tennessee next weekend, hosts Mississippi State the following weekend and then heads to Florida to end the month and start May.
Parks Harber opened the scoring Saturday for Georgia with a two-out RBI single in the second. Connor Tate added to that lead in the fourth by smashing a two-run shot to left making it 3-0.
Tate’s homer chased Vanderbilt starter Patrick Reilly (3-1) from the game. Reliever Sam Hliboki was greeted with Garrett Blaylock’s RBI double into the right-fielder corner before Riley King’s RBI single rolled through the right side making it 4-0.
Tate added some insurance in the eighth – off Vandy reliever Chris McElvain – with a two-out RBI double down the line to left making it 5-0. A Blaylock double to right off Hunter Owen making it 6-0.
Carter Young’s RBI double in the eighth scored Enrique Bradfield – but that was much too little too late. The Bulldogs (20-11, 5-7 SEC) piled on three runs in the ninth on an RBI double and two RBI singles.
Georgia starter Jonathan Cannon (2-2) went seven scoreless innings and struck out nine. He allowed just five hits and didn’t walk a batter while throwing 110 pitches (75 for strikes).
“We just couldn’t center (Cannon) at any point – we just didn’t have any opportunities,” Corbin said. “You have to give him credit. He threw through our bats and was able to pitch around.
“If you get seven innings and you’re able to get through the lineup three times, that’s saying something. That’s a quality SEC start to say the least. He just kept us off the board.”
— Chad Bishop covers Vanderbilt for VUCommodores.com.
Follow him @MrChadBishop.