Arkansas' struggles against right-handed pitchers continued Thursday night.
This time it was Vanderbilt sophomore Sonny Gray that shut down the No. 17 Razorbacks, leading the No. 23 Commodores to a 4-3 win at Hawkins Field in a game that was delayed more than two and a half hours by rain.
Gray went eight innings, allowing three runs on eight hits. He struck out nine batters and became the fifth straight right-hander to beat the Razorbacks. Chase Reid earned his first save of the year.
The win was Vanderbilt's seventh straight while Arkansas has now dropped five games in a row.
The Commodores (40-13, 16-10 SEC) took the lead for good on Curt Casali's RBI single in the bottom of the seventh inning. The hit came off Razorback reliever DJ Baxendale, who earned the loss despite giving up just one run in three innings out of the bullpen.
It was a short outing for Arkansas starter Drew Smyly, who threw 97 pitches in five innings. He gave up three runs on six hits and struck out six batters.
Vanderbilt took a 2-0 lead on Aaron Westlake's two-run home run in the bottom of the first inning but Arkansas (38-16, 16-12) countered with three runs in the top of the second inning.
Monk Kreder's two-out, two-run single tied the game 2-2. Kreder later scored on a Collin Kuhn RBI single to give the Hogs a 3-2 lead.
That score held until the bottom of the fourth inning. Vanderbilt tied the game on a Bryan Johns two-out RBI double off Smyly.
Vanderbilt had plenty of chances to add to the lead but hit into an inning-ending double play in the fifth inning to strand a runner at third base and left the bases loaded an inning later.
Arkansas looked to make a comeback in the top of the ninth after Travis Sample led off the inning with a single. But Tim Carver failed to lay down a bunt in the next at-bat and struck out, and Kreder hit into a double play to end the game.
Zack Cox, who didn't play for the second straight game with a back injury, was on-deck to pinch-hit after Kreder but never got the opportunity.
The two teams will meet again Friday with a first pitch set for 6 p.m. Arkansas will start senior Mike Bolsinger (5-3, 4.66 ERA) needing a win for any chance to share the SEC West title.
Vanderbilt will counter with right-hander Taylor Hill (5-3, 3.57).
Vanderbilt 4, Arkansas 3
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