Reilly, Bradfield Jr. shine as Vandy escapes Auburn
HOOVER, Alabama -- Behind Patrick Reilly's stellar pitching and Enrique Bradfield Jr.'s speed on the bases, 4-seed Vanderbilt slipped past 5-seed Auburn, 5-4, in a second-round game of the SEC Baseball Tournament on Wednesday at the Hoover Met.
Auburn and Vanderbilt's start of the night fit the theme of the day with action-packed baseball and hot starts.
Cole Foster, who had a homer and three RBI the night before, got the Tigers off with a solo homer in the top of the first. The deep shot was the second time in his collegiate career Foster homered in consecutive games.
The Commodores quickly fought back and it all began with Bradfield Jr. The speedster was walked in his first at-bat, stole second and third and was drove in for the Vandy's first run. Bradfield Jr. stole multiple bases in back-to-back games for the first time this season.
The Dores continued to get on base and it resulted in another score from Davis Diaz on a sacrifice fly by Jack Bulger.
The second inning went scoreless from both teams -- but Chris Stanfield continued his hot streak in the tournament and drilled a solo homer in the top of the third.
Both pitching staffs gained control in the fourth and fifth innings as no runs were scored. Sam Hliboki had a solid start for Vandy with two runs allowed in four innings, but Reilly came in and started lighting it up on the mound.
But Troy LaNeve took advantage of runners on base and brought in Diaz with an RBI fielder's choice to put the Commodores up by a run, 3-2, heading into the seventh inning.
The Bradfield Jr. and Diaz show continued in the bottom of the seventh as Bradfield reached on a throwing error, going to second when the throw got past the first baseman. The gifted baserunner then advanced to third on a wild pitch and was knocked in for another run on a single by Diaz.
While the aforementioned duo shined on offense, the work from Reilly continued to keep the Commodores on top. Heading into the eighth inning, Reilly had seven strikeouts and had only allowed one hit in three innings.
Vanderbilt didn't slow down in the bottom of the eighth inning as it drove in another two runs by Noland and Bulger.
Auburn didn't give up despite the daunting deficit of four runs entering the top of the ninth. Cooper McMurray was walked and Bryson Ware followed up with a two-run homer that put the Tigers within striking distance with no outs. Ware's homer was his 23rd of the season, which is tied for the most in the program's history.
The Tigers' efforts weren't enough as Reilly tallied his eighth strikeout of the night and closed out the victory. Reilly ended up pitching the final five innings in relief, giving up only two hits and the two runs on Ware's too-little, too-late homer, while walking just one batter.
HOW IT HAPPENED
T1 | Foster homered to right field. Auburn 1, Vanderbilt 0.
B1 | Bradfield Jr. walked. Bradfield Jr. stole second. Bradfield Jr. stole third. Diaz singled up the middle, Bradfield Jr. scored. RJ Schreck walked, Diaz advanced to second. Parker Noland grounded out, Schreck advanced to second and Diaz advanced to third. Bulger flied out to right field, Schreck advanced to third and Diaz scored. Vanderbilt 2, Auburn 1.
T3 | Stanfield homered to center field. Vanderbilt 2, Auburn 2.
B6 | Diaz walked. Schreck singled and Diaz advanced to second. Noland grounded out, Schreck advanced to second and Diaz advanced to third. Bulger walked. LaNeve reached base on a fielder's choice, Bulger out at second base, Schreck advanced to third an Diaz scored. Vanderbilt 3, Auburn 2.
B7 | Bradfield reached on a throwing error and advanced to second. Bradfield advanced to third on a wild pitch. Diaz singled to left and Bradfield scored. Vanderbilt 4, Auburn 2.
B8 | Noland walked. Bulger walked, Noland advanced to second. LaNeve singled through the right side, Bulger advanced to second and Noland advanced to third. Jonathan Vastine singled through the right side, LaNeve advanced to second, Bulger advanced to third and Noland scored. Hewett flied out and Bulger scored. Vanderbilt 6, Auburn 2.
T9 | McMurray walked. Ware homered down the left field line and McMurray scored. Vanderbilt 6, Auburn 4.
Vanderbilt (3717) advanced to the third round to face 1-seed Florida. First pitch is scheduled to start 30 minutes after completion of the 5:30 p.m. LSU-Arkansas game in a contest that will be televised on SEC Network.
Auburn (34-19) will face 9-seed Alabama. First pitch is scheduled to start 30 minutes after completion of the 10:30 a.m. South Carolina-Texas A&M game in a contest that will be televised on SEC Network.