NASHVILLE, Tenn. – Vanderbilt right fielder Isaiah Thomas belted a two-out, three-run walk-off home run in the 11th inning as the second-ranked Commodores erased a two-run deficit and scored four times in the frame for a 7-5 win the series finale Sunday at Hawkins Field.
Hawaii (8-5) jumped ahead with two runs in the top half before Vanderbilt (10-3) rallied. Austin Martin brought the game within one on a one-out RBI single and Dominic Keegan battled back from an 0-2 count to work a six-pitch, two-out walk to set the stage for Thomas.
Thomas took two pitches before clubbing the game winner into left. The sophomore swatted two home runs on the day including a lead-off solo homer in the fourth, trimming Vanderbilt’s deficit to one. Thomas (3-for-6), who has four homers in 12 starts, collected three of Vanderbilt’s 13 hits while driving in four.
“That was the best feeling of my life.”
— Vanderbilt Baseball (@VandyBoys) March 1, 2020
Keegan (2-for-5) added two doubles and provided Vanderbilt a 3-2 lead on an RBI double in the fifth. Hawaii evened things up on a Matt Wong solo homer in the seventh. The teams exchanged zeroes over the next three innings highlighted by Sam Hliboki escaping a bases-loaded jam in the 10th.
Vanderbilt starter Jake Eder allowed six hits and two runs across five innings. The southpaw struck out five and walked one but was largely efficient outside of Hawaii’s two-run third. Reliever Erik Kaiser (1-0) earned the win, allowing one hit and two runs (none earned) with a walk and a strikeout.
Hawaii reliever Carter Loewen (0-1) drew the loss, allowing three hits and four runs with a walk in 0.2 innings. The Commodores scored twice off starter Brandon Ross and once against reliever Cade Halemanu but could not muster anything else until the 11th inning.
Vanderbilt has won 11 consecutive home series dating to May 19, 2018. The Thomas walk-off homer was the first for a Vanderbilt student-athlete since JJ Bleday played hero against Mississippi State in Game 2 of the 2018 NCAA Nashville Super Regional.
Vanderbilt closes its 11-game homestand at 4:30 p.m. Tuesday against Central Arkansas. Outfield seats are available for $7. Tickets can be purchased by calling (615) 322-GOLD or by visiting VUCommodores.com.