NASHVILLE, Tenn. - Warner Jones had a career-high four hits and two RBI, Tony Mansolino added three hits and three RBI and pitcher Robert Ransom (4-3) struck out a career-high eight batters as Vanderbilt defeated Tennessee 9-1 Saturday evening at Hawkins Field.
The victory ties the Commodores (26-26, 13-16 Southeastern Conference) with Tennessee (31-23, 13-16 SEC) for third place in the SEC Eastern Division. Florida (34-18-1, 13-15-1 SEC) topped Kentucky, 13-4 to move into second place in the division, a half game ahead of Vanderbilt and Tennessee.
A sellout crowd of 1,623 saw the Commodores collect 14 hits to assure their first series win over Tennessee since 1999. The victory was the Commodores ninth in their last 11 home SEC games.
The Commodores broke open a scoreless game with four runs in the bottom of the third. John Kaye's bases-loaded sacrifice fly brought in Matt Zeller from third base. After Cesar Nicolas followed with a walk to reload the bases, Mansolino hit a two-run single to right that plated Zach Simpson and Ryan Klosterman. Jones hit a sacrifice fly to right center to bring in Nicolas and give Vanderbilt a 4-0 advantage.
Tennessee answered with its only run of the game in the fourth. Walter Sevilla hit his third home run of the year, a solo shot that cleared the wall in left center field.
Vanderbilt scored three times in the seventh to build a 7-1 lead. Klosterman reached on an infield bunt and took second on a wild throw to first by pitcher Derek Tharpe (6-6). One-out later, Nicolas and Mansolino drew back-to-back walks to load the bases and chase Tharpe from the game. Jones followed with a RBI single to left off UT reliever Casey Eisemann to plate Klosterman. With two outs, Douillard singled through the middle of the infield to bring in Nicolas and Mansolino and give VU a six-run cushion.
The Commodores added two more runs in the eighth on a RBI double by Nicolas and a RBI single by Jones to take a 9-1 lead.
Ransom pitched eight and a third innings, allowing eight hits, one run (earned) and three walks to go along with his career-high eight punchouts. He gave up a single and a walk to start the game but pitched out of the jam by coaxing two strikeouts and a ground out back to the mound. He retired seven of the next eight batters he faced before Sevilla hit his solo home run.
Matt Buschmann retired both batters he faced in the ninth to end the game.
Tharpe allowed nine hits and seven runs (all earned) with three walks and six strikeouts in six and a third innings. Eisemann gave up five hits and two runs (both earned) to go along with a walk and three strikeouts in an inning and two thirds.
The series and regular-season finale is Sunday at 1 p.m.