The Commodores dropped to 17-9 on the year and 3-5 in conference play despite outhitting the Tigers 12-7 in the contest.
VU had an opportunity to tie or take the lead in the ninth with two men on and two outs, but reliever Austin Hubbard came on and struck out Curt Casali looking to end the game. In all the Dores struck out 10 times in the game, six of them looking.
The Dores got on the board first with a run in the second on a RBI double by Jason Esposito. Casali led off the frame with a walk and Andrew Giobbi followed an out later with a single to left. Joe Loftus struck out for the second out in the inning before Esposito lofted a 1-2 pitch off the left field wall. The damage could have been worse but Giobbi slipped rounding third and was caught in a rundown.
The Tigers took the lead in the bottom of the second, courtesy of a two-run homer by Brian Fletcher. Ben Jones drew a one out walk and then Fletcher hit his seventh homer of the season over the short porch wall in right field.
VU tied it up in the third on a bases loaded sacrifice fly out by Casali to deep left field. Brian Harris singled with one out and moved to third on a double down the right field line by Riley Reynolds. Steven Liddle then drew a walk to load the bases, before Casali drove AU starter Jon Luke Jacobs' first pitch offering to deep left, where it was caught at the warning track. Harris came into score to tie the game.
Auburn took the lead back in the bottom half on Hunter Morris' RBI single through the left side. Trent Mummey was hit by a pitch with one out in the inning and then stole second when Caleb Cotham struck out Joseph Sanders. Morris then singled through the wide-open left side as the Commodores shifted shortstop Brian Harris behind second base and second baseman Riley Reynolds into shallow right field with the left-handed pull hitter at the plate. Mummey easily scored to give the Tigers a 3-2 lead.
AU used the long ball again in the sixth as Ben Jones belted a two-run shot to right to extend the lead to 5-2. Tony Caldwell doubled with two outs in the frame and then Jones followed with his fifth homer of the year.
Cotham (3-3) gave up five runs on six hits with seven strikeouts and two walks in 5.2 innings of work. Four of the runs came via two two-run homers as he dropped his third straight decision.
VU got a run back in the seventh when Riley Reynolds doubled with two outs and scored on Steven Liddle's RBI single off of Bradley Hendrix who just entered the game in relief of Jacobs.
Jacobs (3-0) gave up three runs on eight hits with six strikeouts and two walks in 6.2 innings of work to pick up the win. Hubbard faced one batter in the ninth and picked up his fourth save of the year.
Reynolds led Vanderbilt with three hits on the day, with Brian Harris and Andrew Giobbi recording two hits as well.
The Commodores and Tigers will play the rubber game of the three game series Sunday at 1 p.m. Right-hander Nick Christiani (3-0, 4.78 ERA) will take the hill for the Dores, while Auburn's starter is to be determined.
Vanderbilt 011 000 100 - 3(12)0 Auburn 021 002 00x - 570
Cotham, Goodenow (6), Bierman (7), Hill (8) and Fann. Jacobs, Hendrix (7), Hubbard (9) and Caldwell. W- Jacobs 3-0, L- Cotham 3-3. Sv- Hubbard (4). HR: AU: Fletcher (7), Jones (5)