Nashville, Tenn. (VUAD) – Vanderbilt blew a late lead in a 10-6 loss in the series opener to No. 12 Florida on Thursday night at Hawkins Field.
The Commodores (21-14, 6-7) entered the ninth clinging to a one-run lead after escaping a bases loaded jam in the eighth inning. The Gators (23-11, 7-6) came out swinging in the ninth with three straight singles on three straight pitches from closer Reed Hayes to pull even at 6-6. An intentional walk loaded the bases before Dalton Guthrie singled to center to give Florida its first lead of the night. Austin Langworthy then cleared the bases with a double into the left field corner to make it 10-6.
Vanderbilt took an early lead in the second inning when Jason Delay and JJ Bleday singled to start the frame. A Florida error brought the first run in and a Connor Kaiser sacrifice bunt made it 2-0 Vandy before Will Toffey sent a pitch back up the middle for a 3-0 lead. Jeren Kendall’s 11th homer of the season opened the fifth inning and gave the Commodores a three-run lead heading into the seventh inning. But the lead would not hold as the Gators put the leadoff man aboard in the sixth and seventh innings, scoring both times to draw within in a run of the Commodores then sent nine men to the plate to score five runs in the ninth.
Hayes took the loss after giving up five runs on four hits in one-plus inning. The right-hander had not allowed a run in his previous 10 games. Vanderbilt starter Patrick Raby gave up three runs on seven hits over 4.1 innings. Seven different Commodores contributed hits with Toffey and Bleday each recording two.
Ryan Larson led the Gators with five hits while Austin Langworthy added four RBIs. Garrett Milchin earned the win with two scoreless innings of relief. Alex Faedo gave up six runs, two earned, on seven hits over six innings.
The two teams square off Friday night at 6:30 p.m. at Hawkins Field with Kyle Wright on the mound for the Commodores against Florida’s Brady Singer.