After giving away game one to Florida, Vanderbilt (22-14/7-7) needed to bounce back and receive a good starting performance from Kyle Wright and they got just that and then some.
The Commodores junior right hander tossed a gem of a game on Friday as helped lead his team to a 2-0 victory over the Gators and even up the series with game three looming on Saturday.
Wright (2-4) threw a complete game shut out, striking out 13 Gator hitters while allowing only three hits and walking nobody. It was easily the best performance of the year from Wright and a pitching display the rest of his team, staff and fans have been waiting on all year long.
Florida (23-12/7-7) designated hitter Nelson Madonado broke up string of 10 consecutive hitters put down by Wright when he singled to open an inning but after that, the Alabama native went on to shut down the next 12 Florida batters to end the game. It was a dominating performance that the Florida Gators are used to from Wright. Last season, Wright shut out the Gators while striking out 12 batters. He has the Gators number and seems to feel the best when on the mound against them.
Wright's pitching performance was needed as the Commodore hitters didn't do much to help his efforts. Florida starting pitcher Brady Singer was very good and showed why he is considered one of the top pitching prospects in the SEC. He did a good job of keeping Vanderbilt off balance but in the 5th inning, the Commodores were able to get on the board when catcher Jason Delay lined a double down the right field line and was advanced to third after a single from Ethan Paul. A gutsy two strike suicide bunt from shortstop Connor Kaiser brought Delay home and gave the Commodores the lead.
Vanderbilt added an insurance run in the 7th inning when Jeren Kendall launched a sacrifice fly into the outfield that plated run number two. That's all the runs Vandy would need as Wright was dealing on the mound and didn't show any signs of slowing down.
Singer (4-2) had a good performance in his own right in the loss. He tossed eight innings, giving up 11 hits while striking out eight. Vanderbilt was able to produce double digit hits but still had an issue bringing guys into score. Hopefully that changes come Saturday.
The two teams will meet again inside Hawkins Field on Saturday afternoon as both Vanderbilt and Florida are looking for the series clinching win. Game three is set to begin at 2:00 pm Central with the Commodores yet to announce a starting pitcher while the Gators will go with Jackson Kowar. The game will be aired on ESPN2.