KNOXVILLE, Tenn. – A five-run eighth inning proved to be the difference as the second-ranked Vanderbilt baseball team fell to No. 5 Tennessee, 8-4, on Saturday afternoon at Lindsey Nelson Stadium. With the loss, the Commodores move to 27-6 on the season, including a 10-4 mark in Southeastern Conference play.
Tennessee jumped out to a 2-0 advantage, before Vanderbilt battled back to carry a 4-2 lead into the seventh-inning stretch. The Volunteers plated six runs across the seventh and eighth inning—highlighted by a grand slam in the eighth—to move ahead and secure the series-evening victory.
Pitching dominated the early part of Saturday’s matchup, before the offense took over across the final parts of the game. The two teams mustered just three combined hits across the first three innings, before combining for six home runs across the final six frames.
Sophomore Jack Leiter turned in another solid outing for Vanderbilt, marking his fifth consecutive quality start. The right-hander worked 6.1 innings, allowing three earned runs on four hits and three walks, while striking out 10.
Junior Luke Murphy (0-1) took the loss, marking his first of the season, working 1.0 inning. Murphy allowed four earned runs on two hits and two walks, while registering one punchout.
Tennessee struck first in Game 2, plating two runs in the bottom of the fourth. The Volunteers used back-to-back solo home runs with two outs to break into the scoring column and grab a 2-0 lead.
The Commodores got on the board in the sixth inning, putting up a crooked number to move ahead. Dominic Keegan reached on a throwing error by the Tennessee third baseman, before Jack Bulger sent a ball to the left side for an infield single. One batter later, CJ Rodriguez connected on a three-run homer to place Vandy in front, 3-2.
The two teams traded runs in the seventh, as Vanderbilt added one in the top half on a solo shot from Jayson Gonzalez to extend the margin to 4-2, heading into the stretch.
Tennessee responded with a run of its own in the bottom of the inning, as a solo home run trimmed the Commodore lead to 4-3 after seven full.
The Volunteers rallied for a five-run frame in the eighth to take control and set the score at 8-4, the eventual final.
The two teams will return to the diamond tomorrow for the series finale. First pitch is set for noon CT, with action airing live on SEC Network+.