Walk-off homer sinks Commodores

LOS ANGELES, Calif. – Southern California used a two-out, solo home run in the bottom of the ninth to walk off with a 6-5 win over Vanderbilt on Saturday afternoon at Dedeaux Field.

The Commodores (11-3) battled back to tie the game 5-5 in the eighth inning, manufacturing a run. Jeren Kendall led off with a walk and moved over to second on a Jason Delay sacrifice bunt. Bryan Reynolds knotted the game with a solid single up the middle but the Dores failed to score again and the Trojans (14-1) took advantage in the bottom of the ninth.

Ben Bowden entered in the eighth and picked off a runner to end the inning then started the ninth inning with a quick strikeout and line out to Dansby Swanson at shortstop. USC pulled Adalberto Carillo off the bench in favor of a right-left match up. Bowden issued three straight balls and looked to be back in the at-bat with a 3-1 count but Carillo caught up to a fastball up in the zone and hit it just out of the reach of a jumping Reynolds at the left field wall to end the game and Vanderbilt’s eight-game winning streak.

The two teams battled back and forth throughout the game trading runs in three innings. The Dores jumped out of the gate with a run in the first thanks to three straight hits. Swanson started the two-out rally with a single and second and third before scoring on Zander Wiel’s RBI-single. The Trojans answered with a run in the first and took the lead in the third with two runs. Vandy moved in front briefly in the fifth with two runs to go up 5-4 with another two-out rally. Wiel sparked the rally with a double in front of three straight singles from Will Toffey, Penn Murfee and Tyler Campbell. Toffey’s single tied the game and Campbell’s put VU on top until the bottom of the fifth when USC answered with a run.

Bowden was pinned with his first career loss after giving up the home run in the ninth. Vanderbilt starter John Kilichowski allowed five runs, three earned, on five hits over 4.1 innings. Kyle Wright shined out of the pen with 3.1 scoreless innings. The freshman retired the first six he faced and did not allow a hit until his final frame.

Campbell paced the Vandy offense with a career-best three hits. Wiel added three hits of his own as the Dores again provided a balanced attack with eight players registering hits.

Marc Huberman picked up the win out of the USC pen, tossing a scoreless ninth. USC starter Kyle Twomey allowed four runs on 12 hits over five innings.

Vanderbilt wraps up the weekend tomorrow at 1:45 p.m. CT against No. 6 TCU in the Dodger Stadium College Baseball Classic inside Dodger Stadium. Walker Buehler is set to make his first weekend start of the season against Horned Frogs’ right-hander Preston Morrison.