HOOVER, Ala. - In a game where nine of 11 runs were scored facing two outs, No. 6 seed Vanderbilt (43-15) beat No. 3 seed Texas A&M (41-14), 6-5 in Game 5 of the 2016 SEC Baseball Tournament, the first game of the double elimination round.
Vanderbilt's go-ahead run came when pinch-hitter Walker Grisanti hit a solo home run off Aggies' pitcher Mark Ecker (4-2) in the top of the ninth inning, the second consecutive game in which a Commodore pinch hitter homered. With that home run, Grisanti snapped two significant Aggies' streaks. Ecker's 31 1/3 inning streak came to an end as did the Aggies' 34-0 streak of winning when leading after seven innings.
Vanderbilt head coach Tim Corbin was confident in calling Grisanti to bat, but wasn't sure how much success the freshman would have against Ecker's stingy pitching.
"A home run is one thing," Corbin said. "It's a very big hit for the young man but you don't know if that kid is going to produce that against Ecker. Ecker has been untouched most of the year so it's very difficult to navigate. Credit him. It was a big, big hit."
The 11 runs scored matched the total for the entire 3-game series when the two teams met earlier this month.
The Aggies' offense struck first in the bottom of the second inning. Facing a two-out situation with Ryne Birk on first and Nick Banks on second, Jonathan Moroney's 2 RBI double to left center put the Aggies up 2-0. Austin Homan smacked an RBI triple while facing a full count, extending the Aggies' lead to 3-0.
Vanderbilt's offense responded in the top of the third when Will Toffey, who was 3-5 in the regular season with the bases loaded, came to bat facing two outs and the bases juiced. Toffey's 2 RBI single put the Dores within one. Kaiser followed that up with a single RBI off Vinson's next pitch, tying the game 3-3.
The Dores took the lead in the fourth with a Julian Infante solo home run, his second home run of the tournament.
Texas A&M swung back into the lead in the bottom of the sixth, scoring two runs. Banks hit an RBI double to tie, then scored off a Homan RBI single to put the Aggies up 5-4. Vandy relief-pitcher Matt Ruppenthal (5-1) held the Aggies hitless over the final three innings, retiring eight of the final nine batters.
UP NEXT: Vanderbilt will play the winner of Game 6 between No. 2 seed South Carolina and No. 7 seed Ole Miss at 5:30 pm ET / 4:30 pm CT on Thursday. Texas A&M will play the loser of that same game at 10:30 am ET / 9:30 am CT on Thursday.