A 4-3 bottom of the 9th loss on Friday night for Vanderbilt (29-20/12-12) is yet another tough game to stomach as the game was in their favor most of the way but they could not hang on as they allowed the Razorbacks to come back and eventually take the win away.
Arkansas (36-13/15-9) did take an early 1-0 lead in the 1st after a solo shot from Luke Bonfield and that wouldn't be the last time you would hear from the Hogs designated hitter.
Vanderbilt bounced back in the 2nd to take the lead after a two run right center field home run from second baseman Ethan Paul. It was a good statement to make for the Dores after giving up a run in the 1st inning.
Holding a 2-1 lead, Vanderbilt added another run to the board in the 5th inning after an RBI single from Jeren Kendall. The future 1st round draft pick drove in shortstop Connor Kaiser after the sophomore go on base by way of a triple.
The Commodores felt good as they had attained a 3-1 lead while starting pitcher Patrick Raby looked comfortable on the mound. The Knoxville native who leads the team in wins and ERA, was solid on Friday night but saw things come closer in the 7th after a big blast to right field tied things up.
A lead-off double from Hogs 2nd baseman Carson Shaddy opened the door for Arkansas. Two batters later, Raby would allow his 2nd home run of the game when Dominic Fletcher sent the outside pitch to right center and it bounced off the scoreboard to tie things up at 3-3. Freshman Zach King would replace Raby in the 7th and close things out. Raby went 6.2 innings allowing three earned runs while striking out seven and walking two.
Everything remained tied between both teams until we reached the bottom of the 9th. King was still on the mound the start the inning and would get the first out before giving up a bloom double down the left field line to Hogs shortstop Jax Biggers. After picking up out number two and putting another runner on base, the Commodores went to the bullpen for Reed Hayes. The Vanderbilt closer was immediately met by Bonfield who laced a single up the middle that would score Biggers and give the Razorbacks the one run victory.
Vanderbilt had their chances at a win but could not push across enough runs nor keep the Hogs off the board themselves. Arkansas fought tough down the stretch to find three runs and take the one game series lead over the Commodores.
Game two is set for Saturday night with Vanderbilt going with future 1st round draft pick @Kyle Wright while the Razorbacks will toss Blaine Knight.