NASHVILLE — The No. 1-ranked Vanderbilt baseball team held on to post a 4-3 win over Tennessee Saturday night at Charles Hawkins Field. The Commodores clinched the weekend series with a 13-hit effort in front of a school-record crowd of 2,654. The Volunteers fell to 22-16 (6-9 SEC) with the setback.
Tennessee had the potential go-ahead run on base in the eighth, but Commodores closer Casey Weathers retired four straight UT batters to pick up his fifth save of the year and second of the weekend. Starter Mike Minor recorded the win for the Dores, helping Vanderbilt improve to 34-8 (11-6 SEC).
Vols catcher Yan Gomes collected a pair of hits and provided UT’s biggest offensive spark with a two-run home run in the sixth. Julio Borbon also added a pair of Tennessee’s seven total hits on the night.
Vanderbilt struck first Saturday, using an RBI sacrifice fly by outfielder Dominic de la Osa to plate leadoff hitter David Macias in the top of the first inning. And after Tennessee managed just one baserunner and no hits through three innings, de la Osa plated Macias once again — this time on an RBI basehit up the middle in the third — to give the Commodores a 2-0 edge.
Tennessee got something going in the top of the fourth when Borbon led off with a triple down the right line. He came home on the next at-bat when second baseman Tony Delmonico sent an RBI sacrifice fly into right field. Gomes recorded a two-out single later in the frame, and after stealing second base, he attempted to score one batter later on a basehit by shortstop Danny Lima. But Vanderbilt left fielder Matt Meingasner made a perfect throw to the plate, where Gomes was tagged out to end the inning.
Vanderbilt began the bottom of the fifth with three consecutive basehits — the second and third of which were bunt singles — to load the bases with no outs. A sacrifice fly by de la Osa then enabled one run to cross before Pedro Alvarez drove in another run on an RBI double through the left side of the Vols’ infield. Tennessee then intentionally walked Ryan Flaherty before starting pitcher Craig Cobb gave way to sophomore reliever Aaron Everett with one out and a pair of men in scoring position. Everett got the first batter he faced to line into an inning-ending double play, but the damage for the fifth inning alone stood at a pair of runs on four hits that pushed the VU lead to 4-1.
Gomes made it a one-run game in the sixth with his team-leading seventh home run of the year. His two-run shot plated Arencibia, who had previously singled with two outs.
The Commodores brought right-hander Brett Jacobson to the mound for the top of the seventh after starter Mike Minor (7-0) was touched for three runs on five hits with two walks and four Ks through six innings.
Borbon led off the eighth with a basehit and advanced to second on a sacrifice bunt by Delmonico. With two outs, Weathers entered the game to face Gomes, and the fireballer issued a base on balls that put the potential go-ahead run on first base. It would prove fruitless, however, as Weathers then ended UT’s final scoring opportunity of the game with a strikeout.
A leadoff single by Vanderbilt in the bottom of the eighth prompted UT head coach Rod Delmonico to bring designated hitter Jeff Lockwood to the mound as a reliever after Everett had worked a career-high-tying 2 2/3 innings with three strikeouts. Lockwood gave up a basehit to the first batter he faced, but he then induced a popout bunt and a 1-5-3 double play ball to keep it a one-run game.
But Weathers retired the side in order in the top of the ninth.
Cobb fell to 6-3 on the year after allowing four runs on 10 hits through 4 1/3 innings of work.
Tennessee dropped a 3-1 contest to Vanderbilt on Friday, as Commodore lefty David Price and Volunteer ace James Adkins put on a show for the sellout crowd of 2,424. The teams combined for 11 hits and 24 strikeouts.