Vanderbilt surges to series-opening victory against UGA
NASHVILLE, Tenn. -- No. 7 Vanderbilt jumped on Georgia early Friday night in the series opener and cruised to a 15-3 victory at Hawkins Field.
The Commodores (32-10, 11-8) wasted no time against Bulldogs' (22-21, 7-12) ace Robert Tyler in the first inning, scoring four runs to claim an early lead. Leadoff hitter Ro Coleman walked to lead off the game and moved to second on a perfectly placed single through the left side by Jeren Kendall. A walk to Bryan Reynolds loaded the bases for Julian Infante, who walked to force in the game's first run. Alonzo Jones immediately followed with a double into the left field corner for a quick 3-0 VU lead with no outs. Tyler settled down after that but not before allowing Infante to score on a wild pitch.
Vanderbilt blew the game open in the third inning with eight runs on five hits, knocking out Tyler in the process. Back-to-back walks to Jones and Jason Delay started all the trouble with Tyler Campbell's hit-and-run triple to right field making it a 6-0 Vandy lead. Two batters later, the Commodores' second two-run triple of the inning added to the lead with Jeren Kendall's triple splitting the right-center field gap to send Connor Kaiser and Coleman home. Julian Infante's double off the left field wall scored Kendall from third before Jason Delay's two-out single up the middle made it 12-0 Commodores.
While the Vanderbilt offense was putting up big numbers, Vandy starter Jordan Sheffield was putting up zeroes again. The right-hander entered Friday night riding a 17-inning scoreless streak over his last two starts and added seven more innings to the total to reach 24 scoreless over his last three starts.
Sheffield breezed through the first and worked out of a brief jam in the second, stranding a pair of Bulldogs in scoring position. After sitting for a long bottom of the third, Sheffield went out and let his defense turn its second inning-ending double play to end the fourth. Only one Bulldog reached scoring position after that with a one-out single by Patrick Sullivan reaching second base in the sixth. Sheffield earned his team-best seventh win of the year scattering seven hits over seven innings with one walk and six strikeouts. During his scoreless streak, Sheffield has struck out 24 batters and walked only four.
Eight different Commodores recorded hits in the win led by Reynolds' three-hit night, including two doubles and his Southeastern Conference leading 10th home run. Eight of Reynolds's 10 home runs on the year have come in conference play. The junior also matched a career-best with four runs scored. Kendall added two hits and two RBI with Jones driving in three in the win.
Tyler took the loss for the Bulldogs allowing seven runs, six earned, on four hits with six walks and five strikeouts over 2.1 innings. Skyler Weber led the offense for the Dawgs with three hits.
The two teams resume the series tomorrow afternoon on SEC Network+ at 2 p.m. with Kyle Wright getting the ball for the Commodores against Georgia southpaw Connor Jones.