Baseball: Vanderbilt Forces Final Game

No. 1-ranked Vanderbilt jumped on Michigan pitcher Andrew Hess to the tune of seven second inning runs and the Wolverines offense never recovered in a 10-7 loss to the host Commodores on Sunday night at Hawkins Field in Nashville, Tenn. Jason Christian led the Michigan offense with a four runs batted in. The final game of the series is scheduled for Monday at 6:00 p.m. local time.

NASHVILLE, Tenn. – The No. 1-ranked team in the nation stared elimination in the eye twice on Sunday, and, thanks to a seven run outburst in the top of the second inning of the night cap, will live to see another day.

Vanderbilt first baseman Brad French led the Commodores offensive attack with two hits, including a two-run home run in the top of the fifth, two runs and four runs batted in.

"Today was a really important for us. Our backs were against the wall and we knew we had to survive another day," French said after the game.

After exchanging three quick outs in the first inning, Vanderbilt jumped on pitcher Andrew Hess early in the second inning. Hess issued a walk to start the inning, and the Commodores followed it up with five straight singles to end the Michigan pitchers night.

"You have ten walks a couple hit batsman, you can't expect to beat the No. 1 team like that," Michigan coach Rich Maloney said. "We're lucky they only scored ten runs, it could have been a football score. With that being said, we've got to do a much better job in that area tomorrow."

Michigan attempted to battle back in the bottom half of the same inning. Sophomores Zach Putnam and Adam Abraham opened the frame with consecutive doubles to make it 7-1. After advancing to third on a ground ball out, he would later score on a grounder hit by left fielder Derek VanBuskirk.

French re-established the seven run lead for the Commodores in the top of the fifth inning. With a runner on second and two out, French hammered the ball over the fence in right field to make it 9-2.

The Wolverines countered again to open the bottom half of the inning. A VanBuskirk single followed by a pair of walks loaded the bases for Jason Christian. Christian doubled to left field and plated all three Michigan base runners. At that point Vanderbilt went to the bullpen, however, and the Wolverines would squander the man on second with no one down.

"I think we were just missing the timely hit, our guys seemed to be picking him up well but they couldn't get ahead or miss the timely hit," Christian said.

Vanderbilt added one final run on a sacrifice bunt in the top of the eighth inning. Michigan picked up two runs in the bottom of the ninth, but fell three runs short in the 10-7 loss.

With the Michigan loss, the No. 1-ranked Commodores have earned a winner-take-all match-up with the Wolverines scheduled for Monday night at 6:00 local time.

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