Nashville, Tenn. (VUAD) – Vanderbilt used the team’s first grand slam since 2015 to rally by Texas A&M 4-3 on Friday night at Hawkins Field in the series opener.
The Aggies (14-8, 0-4) ambushed Commodores’ (14-8, 2-2) starter Kyle Wright for a run in the first inning and two more in the second to claim an early 3-0 lead. The Dores answered quickly, jumping on the comeback trail in the bottom of the second when Stephen Scott led off with a single to left field. Alonzo Jones walked with one down and Harrison Ray worked a two-out walk to load the bases in front of Jeren Kendall. The junior flipped the scoreboard with one swing, hitting a 1-2 laser into the back row of the right-center field bleachers for a grand slam. The slam was the first by a Commodore since Zander Wiel hit a grand slam against Missouri on April 25, 2015.
Wright settled in with the lead, pitching around a two-out single in the third to post his first scoreless inning of the night. A leadoff single from George Janca started the fourth but a nifty double play by Ethan Paul at the bag at second ended the threat two batters later. Wright wrapped up his night in the fifth with a pair strikeouts.
Zach King entered from the bullpen and was stellar over 2.1 no-hit innings of relief. The freshman punched out the side in the sixth before navigating a difficult seventh. King walked Nick Choruby to lead off the inning and the Aggies appeared set to have two on with no outs when Austin Homan hit a shallow liner to right field. Harrison Ray fielded the liner on a hop and gunned down Choruby at second base for the first out of the inning. King, however, was not out of trouble yet, hitting the next batter to put two Aggies aboard. After a strikeout, the duo stole second and third to put two runners in scoring position but King answered with his fifth strikeout of the game to end the threat.
King walked the leadoff batter in the eighth and after a sacrifice bunt moved the runner to second was replaced by Reed Hayes, who quickly got out of the eighth and then worked a 1-2-3 ninth inning to wrap up the Commodores’ third straight win.
Vanderbilt was held to just four hits in the victory with Kendall picking up two of the knocks, adding a single in the fifth to his grand slam. Wright earned his first win of the season after giving up three runs on six hits over five frames. Hayes nailed down his team-best fourth save of the year with his longest outing as a Commodore.
Braden Shewmake drove in all three Texas A&M runs while Janca had two of the Aggies’ six hits. Starter Brigham Hill took the loss, allowing four runs on four hits with three walks in six innings of work.
The two teams meet tomorrow with a new game time set for 12:30 p.m. on SEC Network+. Patrick Raby gets the nod for the Commodores against Texas A&M’s Stephen Kolek.