Commodores drop game two 2-1 as series evens up

After taking game one from Missouri 5-2, Vanderbilt couldn't find their bats on Saturday afternoon as Tigers starting pitcher Tanner Houck and his team fought tough to hang on through extra innings to defeat the Commodores, 2-1. The Tigers evened the series with Vanderbilt and game three looming on Sunday.

Vanderbilt trailed the entire way until tying things up at 1-1 in the 9th but Missouri would bounce back to take the lead in the 12th and eventually pull out the extra inning win, 2-1. 

The Commodores were locked down at the plate on Saturday afternoon as Tigers starting pitcher and All-SEC candidate Tanner Houck controlled Vanderbilt from the mound and basically dictated that game until he left in the eighth inning. The junior right hander tossed eight scoreless innings, striking out nine while allowing only five hits. He was outstanding and gave his Tigers offense a commanding presence on the mound that might of been outdone by his competition. 

Vanderbilt star pitcher Kyle Wright might have been even better than Houck on Saturday, except for one blemish and one run given up in the 5th inning. A lead-off double in the 5th eventually came around to score and give the Tigers a 1-0 lead that would last until the 9th. 

Wright was replaced by Maddux Conger (2-1) in the 9th after giving up one earned run, striking out and matching a career high of 13 strikeouts while only giving up three hits. The junior starter was stellar but his offense could not help him at the plate. 

The Commodore hitters finally woke up enough in the 9th inning. Reed Hayes worked a one out walk and was replaced on the base paths by Alonzo Jones. The sophomore infielder made his way to third after a pinch hit single from Harrison Ray. One batter later, catcher Jason Delay was able to lift the ball into the outfield and far enough to score Jones from 3rd and tie the game at 1-1. 

Conger would maintain the tie until the 12th where he did give up a lead-off single and then was replaced by Matt Ruppenthal. First batter to meet Ruppenthal sent a single into right field and gave the Tigers a 2-1 lead. Vanderbilt was given one last opportunity to keep the game going but Tigers relieve pitcher T.J. Sikkema (7-0) shut it down quickly in the bottom of  the 12th to pick his 7th win of the season. 

Saturday afternoon saw another great outing from Wright wasted as the Commodores offense have not been able to generate many hits nor runs for the junior starting pitcher all season long. Vanderbilt will try to take the series from Missouri on Sunday afternoon as they will throw sophomore Chandler Day

Game three is set to start at 1:00 pm Central and you can see the game on Watch SEC Network. 

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