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Commodores survive UIC in 14 innings

2918 days ago
Vanderbilt Athletics
Photo: Vanderbilt Athletics

NASHVILLE, Tenn. -- No. 3 Vanderbilt needed 14 innings and nearly five hours to beat UIC on Saturday afternoon at Hawkins Field but did so in walk-off fashion to win 6-5.

The Flames (3-3) took a 4-1 lead in the top of the sixth inning but the Commodores (7-0) battled back to tie the game again with three runs of their own. After that, both offenses went ice cold combining for only four hits, all singles, until the fateful 14th inning. UIC took advantage of a Vanderbilt miscommunication on a pop up in shallow right field to have the leadoff hitter reach base. A sacrifice bunt put the runner at second and Thomas Norton's single to center field pushed the Flames back into the lead. Reliever Ryan Johnson, however, worked out of the jam to strand two Flames and keep the deficit at just a run.

The Dores were quickly left with only one out after two groundouts to third base but Ro Coleman started the two-out rally with a single through the left side. Bryan Reynolds came to the plate with Coleman in scoring position after Jeren Kendall was hit by a pitch. Reynolds then came up with a big RBI-single to left-center field to chase Coleman home and tie the game at 5-5. Will Toffey then worked a walk to load the bases and set up freshman Alonzo Jones to be the hero. The freshman watched four pitches sail by to draw the game-winning walk and keep Vanderbilt undefeated.

Reynolds also led the way during Vanderbilt's game-tying rally in the sixth, smashing his second home run in as many days to left field. Jones narrowly missed a home run of his own to left field, instead sliding into third for a RBI-triple. The freshman trotted home one batter later on Jason Delay's sacrifice fly.

Johnson earned the win allowing one run on three hits in the 14th inning. Matt Ruppenthal kept the Commodores in the game with his five no-hit innings, posting a career-best eight strikeouts. Lefty Ben Bowden gave up four runs, three earned, on five hits across five innings and matched a career-best with eight strikeouts.

Reynolds recorded his third straight three-hit game with the game-tying hit going down as his ninth hit in his last three games. Kendall's hot streak to open the season continues as the sophomore has at least one hit, one run and one RBI in all seven of Vandy's games this year. For the sixth time in seven games the VU offense recorded at least 10 hits with 12 knocks in the win with eight Dores contributing hits on Saturday.

Derrick Patrick led the way for UIC with a pair of hits and two runs scored. Trevor Lane took the loss allowing two runs on six hits with seven strikeouts over 5.2 innings of relief. Starter Ian Lewandowski gave up four runs on six hits in 5.1 innings of work.

Vanderbilt wraps up the series with UIC tomorrow at noon at Hawkins Field. Kyle Wright gets the ball for the home team against UIC's Mitchell Schulewitz on SEC Network+.