The Commodores (37-16) burst out of the gate in the first inning with a leadoff homer from Bryan Reynolds. Starter Ryan Johnson took it from there, retiring the first 12 batters he faced. The lefty breezed through the first four innings without allowing a base runner before a leadoff single in the fifth broke the string. Johnson, however, worked around the hit to post his fifth scoreless frame.
While Johnson was dealing, the Commodores were building a bigger lead. Dansby Swanson walked to the plate with two down and a runner on in the third inning and started a streak of four straight Vandy hits with a RBI-triple off the right field wall. Zander Wiel followed with a single through the left side to score Swanson. Will Toffey then put runners on the corners with a single before stealing second with fellow freshman Jeren Kendall at the plate. Kendall came through with a clutch two-out, two-run single to left field to cap the four-run rally.
Louisville (40-13) finally reached Johnson in the sixth when three straight singles scored two runs to cut the Vandy lead to 5-2 with no outs in the inning. The lefty bounced back to get a fielder’s choice for the first out but he was lifted after throwing two pitches to Corey Ray. John Kilichowski entered and quickly put the threat to bed with a strikeout of Ray and ground out to Tyler Green at first base. Kilchowski was perfect over the final three innings to earn his second save in just his second relief appearance of the season.
Johnson picked up his fifth win of the year allowing two runs, one earned, on four hits with no walks and three strikeouts. Wiel led the VU offense with two hits while Reynolds scored two runs from the leadoff spot.
Vanderbilt travels to Hoover, Ala. to take on Alabama in the final Southeastern Conference series of the regular season beginning Thursday night on SEC Network+ at The Hoover Met.
Baseball: Vanderbilt 5, Louisville 2
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