The Commodores (29-8) and Bears (15-20) battled back and forth through the first seven innings to a 6-6 tie. Central Arkansas had its chance in the top of the eighth inning putting two men aboard against Vanderbilt reliever Collin Snider but the sophomore bounced back to get a fly out to Ro Coleman in left field a soft line drive to Julian Infante at first base to end the threat.
Jason Delay’s one-out double to left field ignited the winning rally in the bottom of the inning. Delay was lifted for pinch runner Walker Grisanti before Infante was intentionally walked to set up the force play. Tyler Campbell, however, did not play along, singling into right field to send Grisanti home as the go-ahead run and Infante to third. Connor Kaiser followed with a sacrifice fly to center field to score Infante and pad the Vandy lead. Ben Bowden worked around a pair of singles in the ninth inning to close down the Dores’ win and earn his eighth save of the season.
The Bears struck first with a three-run third inning against Vanderbilt starter Ryan Johnson before the Commodores responded with five runs in the fourth to take the lead. Ro Coleman reached on an error to start the inning and was quickly followed by singles from Jeren Kendall and Bryan Reynolds to load the bases for Will Toffey. The sophomore’s single to left scored the Commodores’ first run of the game and kept the base loaded for the home team. Jason Delay knocked in two runs with a single to center field before getting to trot home on Infante’s first career home run. The freshman belted the first pitch he saw over the left field wall for a two-run homer to cap the five-run rally.
UCA was not done, however, scratching out two runs in the top of the fifth to tie the game. A Kendall sacrifice fly put Vanderbilt back in front in the bottom of the inning. Again, the Bears rallied back to tie the game in the seventh inning, scoring on a strikeout/wild pitch before Snider could end the inning with two more strikeouts.
Snider earned the win with a career-high 3.2 innings out of the bullpen. The right-hander allowed one unearned run on four hits with four strikeouts to pick up his third win of the year. Johnson allowed three runs on five hits over three innings in his second start of the season.
Infante led the way for VU in his first career start, getting the nod at first base. The freshman scored two runs and became the 11th Commodore to hit a home run this season. Delay added two hits and two RBI with Reynolds’ two-hit game pushing his hitting streak to nine games.
Derek Beier took the loss for the Bears allowing two runs on three hits over 2.2 innings of relief. Brandon Montalvo led the UCA offense with three hits and three RBI.
Vanderbilt returns to Southeastern Conference action this weekend at Tennessee beginning Friday in Knoxville, Tenn.
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