Nashville, Tenn. (VUAD) – Vanderbilt rallied for a run in the bottom of the ninth inning to tie the game before dropping a 2-1 decision in 12 innings to Missouri on Saturday afternoon at Hawkins Field to even the series.
Trailing 1-0 entering the bottom of the ninth, Reed Hayes worked a one-out walk to reach base for the fourth time in the game. Alonzo Jones was called on to pinch run for the junior and raced around to third base on Harrison Ray’s pinch-hit single. Jason Delay brought the Commodores’ (28-18, 11-11) even with a sacrifice fly to shallow center field with Jones sliding across home to tie the game. VU had a chance to win it in the 11th inning when Jeren Kendall bunted for a single and stole second before being stranded there.
Back out for his third inning of relief in the 12th, Maddux Conger gave up a leadoff single to Connor Brumfield. After a groundout on a hit-and-run play put Brumfield at second, Matt Ruppenthal was summoned from the Dores’ bullpen. The junior was quickly greeted by a single to right field from Robbie Glendinning to put Missouri (29-19, 9-14) back on top for good.
Starting pitchers Kyle Wright and Tanner Houck were outstanding in their respective outings. Wright matched a career-high with 13 strikeouts over nine innings. The right-hander cruised through the first four innings, giving up just a pair of base runners. A leadoff double cost him his lone run of the day in the fifth when Kameron Misner doubled into the gap and was followed by a sacrifice bunt and sacrifice fly. Wright responded to the double by retiring the next 14 Tigers before a single in the ninth snapped the streak but Kendall threw out the runner trying to stretch it into a double to end the inning. Wright struck out at least one in each of his nine innings.
Houck was nearly as good over eight scoreless innings. The right-hander fanned nine and scattered five hits but did not factor in the decision. Left-hander TJ Sikkema entered in the ninth and allowed the tying run but settled down to earn the win with four innings of work.
Conger took the loss after allowing one run on two hits over 2.1 innings. Hayes and Kendall led the Vandy offense with two hits apiece.
The two teams are set to decide the series tomorrow afternoon at 1 p.m. on SEC Network+. Sophomore Chandler Day gets the nod for Vanderbilt against Missouri’s Bryce Montes De Oca.
Photos by Don Yates