Nashville, Tenn. (VUAD)– No. 25 Vanderbilt used a pair of big innings Tuesday to beat Central Arkansas 10-5 at Hawkins Field.
After falling behind 3-1, the Commodores (8-5) pieced together a five-run fifth inning to take control of the game. A leadoff walk to Jason Delay was followed by a Stephen Scott double to right field to put two runners in scoring position for pinch hitter Reed Hayes. The transfer came through with a clutch two-run single to center field to tie the game. Hayes moved to second on a Connor Kaiser sacrifice bunt and later scored when Jeren Kendall snuck a single through the right side. Ethan Paul capped the rally three batters later with a bouncing single off the pitcher and into center field for a 6-3 Vanderbilt lead.
The Commodores put the game away in the seventh inning when Jason Delay launched his first home run of the season, sending a three-run shot over the left field wall. Delay’s homer is the Dores’ 10th in the last six games. A Will Toffey RBI-double in the eighth inning set the final score.
Hayes posted his best outing as a Commodore with his talents on full display as the Johnson City, Tenn. native went 3-for-3 at the plate with two singles, a double and two RBIs and then pitched a clean ninth inning by retiring the Bears (6-7) in order to end the game. Delay matched a career-best with four RBIs as four different Dores drove in runs and eight recorded hits and scored runs.
Freshman Zach King earned his first career win with three innings out of the bullpen. The lefty entered in the fifth with two runners aboard and two down and quickly got out of the jam with a ground ballot Kaiser. That ground ball started a string of seven straight retired that put King into the eighth inning. The lefty ran out of gas in the eighth yielding a pair of unearned runs before being relieved by Collin Snider. VU Starter Maddux Conger allowed three runs on five hits over 4.2 innings.
Michael Haun and Eddie Sanchez each drove in two runs for the Bears from the bottom of the lineup with Haun recording two hits. Will Brand took the loss in relief after giving up three runs on three hits while getting only two outs.
Vanderbilt takes on Central Arkansas again tomorrow at 4 p.m. at Hawkins Field on SEC Network+. Chandler Day is set to make his second start of the season for the Commodores.