Oxford, Miss. (VUAD)– No. 24 Vanderbilt lost the lead and the series late on Sunday evening at No. 16 Ole Miss, as the Rebels rallied to win 10-8 at Swayze Field.
The two teams battled back and forth all day with the Commodores (13-8, 1-2) nursing an 8-7 lead into the bottom of the eighth inning as the game eclipsed the four-hour mark. That one-run lead was immediately erased as Ole Miss’ (14-6, 2-1) Colby Bortles lined a solo homer into the seats in left field. The trouble did not end there for Vanderbilt reliever Penn Murfee. The junior struck out Thomas Dillard but issued the Commodores’ season-high seventh walk to Will Golsan of the game to put the go-ahead run aboard. Freshman Zach King entered and recorded the second out of the inning before Chase Cockrell flipped the game with a double into the right field corner to chase Golsan home all the way from first. The Rebels tacked on another run before the inning was over to set the final score.
The Commodores looked to be in good shape after a three-run fourth inning but the Dores in control with a 5-2 lead. Reed Hayes’ two-run single gave Vandy the lead and Jeren Kendall added the third run by scoring on a wild pitch. The two teams traded runs from there with Ole Miss scratching one out in the fifth and Hayes’ RBI-single in the sixth pushing the VU lead back to three runs. The bottom of the sixth, however, is where the game began to slip away for the Dores as Ole Miss rallied for three runs on no hits to pull even at 6-6. Vanderbilt pitching walked three batters and hit two more in the frame.
Freshman JJ Bleday looked to have delivered the decisive blow in the seventh when he belted a two-run homer into the Commodores’ bullpen in right field for a two-run Vandy lead. But the Rebels came back with a solo homer from Tim Rowe in the bottom of the seventh before completing the comeback in the eighth.
Murfee was pinned with his first career loss after giving up two runs on one hit while recording four hits. He was one of a season-high seven pitchers used by the Commodores in the loss. Starter Drake Fellows gave up a career-high three runs on five hits with a career-high three walks over 4.1 innings. The Vanderbilt bullpen was tagged for seven runs on just five hits and four walks with just one strikeout.
Kendall paced the Vanderbilt offense with three hits and three runs in the loss. Hayes drove in a career-best three runs with Julian Infante and Bleday adding two hits apiece.
Dallas Woolfolk earned the win in relief working the final two innings in perfect fashion.
The Commodores are back in action Tuesday night in downtown Nashville against Belmont at First Tennessee Park. First pitch is set for 6:30 p.m.
Commodores drop the finale at Ole Miss. Back at it Tuesday downtown at First Tennessee Park against Belmont. pic.twitter.com/xcUWGairSH
— Vanderbilt Baseball (@VandyBaseball) March 20, 2017
— Ole Miss Baseball (@OleMissBSB) March 20, 2017