HOOVER, Ala. — Vanderbilt fell 6-3 to top-seeded Florida in the third round of the 2023 SEC Tournament Thursday night and will face Alabama in an elimination game Friday night.
The Commodores and Gators were locked in a 2-2 tie until Florida jumped ahead with a grand slam in the seventh inning.
Enrique Bradfield Jr. roped the first pitch of the game to the wall in left and turned on the jets to reach third for a leadoff triple. Davis Diaz grounded out to bring Bradfield home and put Vandy up 1-0 in the first.
Florida loaded the bases in the bottom of the first but Hunter Owen, making his first appearance since May 5, got a strikeout to end the frame without a run coming in.
The Gators tied the game on a solo homer in the bottom of the second and pulled ahead 2-1 with a second solo shot in the home half of the fourth.
Jonathan Vastine led off the top of the fifth with a single to center. Vastine moved to second and third on a pair of groundouts before Diaz picked up his second RBI with a single through the left side with two outs, tying the game at 2-2.
Florida took the lead for good with a two-out grand slam off the bat of BT Riopelle in the bottom of the seventh to take a 6-2 lead into the eighth.
Vastine pulled Vandy closer with a solo homer in the top of the eighth, his fourth home run on the season.
Vanderbilt’s elimination game against Alabama will start approximately 30 minutes after LSU and Texas A&M face off at 3 p.m. Both elimination games Friday will air on SEC Network.