Clemson, S.C. – Vanderbilt used a pair of big innings and a strong start from Kyle Wright to advance to the Clemson NCAA Regional final with a 9-4 win over host Clemson Saturday night at Doug Kingsmore Stadium.
The Commodores (35-22-1) broke up a scoreless game in the fourth inning when the first three batters all reached. Reed Hayes led off the inning with a double and moved to third on Ethan Paul’s single to shallow right field. With runners on the corners, Jason Delay made it 1-0 with a double down the right field line. A Harrison Ray sacrifice fly to deep center field made it a two-run Vandy lead. A two-out double from Will Toffey landed in the left-center field gap and capped the rally. The big two-out hit foreshadowed the Dores’ next big inning that blew the game open.
The sixth started with two quick outs for Vanderbilt but Clemson (40-20) starter Charlie Barnes issued his lone walk of the night to Ray. Kaiser followed by sneaking a single through left side of the infield to flip the lineup back to the top and Toffey. The junior came through again with his third hit of the night and seventh of the regional, bouncing a single through the right side off a diving Andrew Cox at first base. Ro Coleman followed with a double down the left field line and Jeren Kendall’s two-out flair landed in shallow left field to score two runs and put Vandy in command 7-0.
The Tigers battled back against Wright in the sixth, however, finally breaking through for three runs. But the Dores’ right-hander limited the damage and then worked a 1-2-3 seventh inning with two strikeouts to end his night. Wright pitched into and out of trouble all night stranding two Tigers in the first and using a strikeout-throw out double play to end the third. Julian Infante saved Wright a run in the fifth when he snagged a line drive headed for the right field corner with a runner on third. Wright earned his fifth win of the season with seven innings of work. The big right-hander gave up three runs on seven hits with nine strikeouts. Over his last seven starts, Wright has struck out 71 over 53.2 innings while allowing just nine runs.
For the second day in a row the Commodores’ offense put up big numbers, collecting 16 hits with eight of the nine players in the lineup recording at least one hit. Toffey and Kendall each had three hits in the win with Kendall driving in three runs. In the two games of the regional, Vanderbilt is hitting .430 as a team and has scored 22 runs.
Barnes took the loss for Clemson after giving up seven runs on 13 hits over 5.2 innings. Logan Davidson and Reed Rohlman each had two hits in the loss.
Vanderbilt now awaits the winner of the Clemson-UNC Greensboro game and will play tomorrow night at 6 p.m. CT.
— vucommodores.com —