The Commodores (16-3, 0-2) claimed an early lead in the first inning but did not lead again until the seventh inning when Bryan Reynolds crushed a two-run homer over the right field bleachers to put Vandy up 4-3. The lead, however, was short-lived as the Bulldogs (14-5-1, 2-0) rallied in the eighth inning to reclaim the lead.
Collin Snider opened the inning with a fly out to center field before being replaced by lefty Evan Steele. The freshman gave up a single through the left side of the infield to Nathaniel Lowe and was immediately replaced by Hayden Stone. The junior struggled out of the gate, issuing a walk and hit batter sandwiched around a strikeout to load the bases. A second strikeout set up the Dores to get out of the jam, but Jake Mangum came through with a two-run single to left field to put the Bulldogs back on top for good. All five Mississippi State runs scored with two outs on Saturday night.
The two teams battled back-and-forth in the middle innings with the Bulldogs going in front on a Reid Humphreys home run in the fourth before Vandy battled back to draw even in the bottom of the frame. Alonzo Jones doubled to lead off the inning and came around to score on Karl Ellison’s sacrifice fly to center field.
Reynolds led the way for the Dores with three RBI in the loss. Driving in a run in the first inning to go along with his third homer of the year in the seventh. Jeren Kendall scored two runs while hitting in the leadoff spot.
Stone took the loss allowing one run on two hits to go along with three strikeouts over 1.2 innings. Starter Ben Bowden tossed five innings allowing three runs on five hits with seven strikeouts.
Kale Breaux picked up the win out of the Mississippi State bullpen working a perfect inning before Noah Hughes worked the final two innings to earn his first save of the season.
Vanderbilt wraps up opening weekend of Southeastern Conference play tomorrow at 1 p.m. at Hawkins Field.
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