#2 Vanderbilt (39-9) pulled out a 6-2 win over #3 Louisville (39-10), using four late runs in the eighth and ninth innings to extend their winning streak to 12 games. Vanderbilt wins the Barrel for the first time since 2015, and ended Louisville’s nine-game winning streak.
Both Vanderbilt and Louisville, who entered tonight’s game as two of the hottest teams in the country, couldn’t get any runs in the first two innings. But the Commodores scored first in the third, getting an RBI groundout from Ethan Paul. Philip Clarke then drove in an RBI single to score J.J. Bleday, giving Vanderbilt a 2-0 lead once the top of the third closed.
Louisville managed to tie the game with a run scored in the third and sixth innings. Lucas Dunn drilled an RBI single to bring home Zeke Pinkham in the third. Danny Oriente’s RBI double in the sixth tied the game at 2-2.
The Cardinals had multiple opportunities to add on runs throughout the game, but left eight runners on base. The third inning had runners at second and third when Tyler Fitzgerald struck out to close the inning. Justin Lavey fouled out to the first baseman to keep runners on first and second base as the fourth inning closed. After Vanderbilt got two runs in the eighth, Drew Campbell struck out, leaving runners on first and second again and keeping the Cardinals from closing the 4-2 deficit.
Louisville’s pitching was able to keep Vanderbilt’s high-powered offense held down for most of seven innings, but ran out of steam towards the end. The Cards gave up two runs in the eighth and ninth inning each. Harrison Ray gave Vanderbilt the go-ahead runs on a two-RBI double. Two walks allowed by Louisville in the ninth extended Vanderbilt’s lead to 6-2, putting the game out of reach and closing out the win.
Both teams tallied nine hits in the game, and Vanderbilt actually left more runners on base (ten v. Louisville’s eight). But Vanderbilt was able to capitalize on a timely hit by Harrison Ray, and subsequent walks in the ninth to add insurance runs needed to secure the win.
Vanderbilt saw the top of its order dominate the box score for the Commodores. Austin Martin and Philip Clarke both finished 2-for-4 at the plate, with Pat DeMarco also going 2-for-3. The top five hitters in Vanderbilt’s order (Martin, J.J. Bleday, Ethan Paul, Philip Clarke, and DeMarco) accounted for eight of the team’s nine hits. Martin, Paul, DeMarco, and Ray also tallied a double on the game, with Ray accounting for three RBIs.
Louisville’s offense saw eight of its nine batters in the lineup record a hit, with Danny Oriente going 2-for-3 at the plate. Oriente, along with Logan Wyatt and Zeke Pinkham, also recorded doubles in the game. Alex Binelas, who had been on a roll in recent weeks with two ACC Player of the Week awards, went 0-for-4 with three strikeouts.
Vanderbilt’s A.J. Franklin earned the win, throwing 2.1 shutout innings and striking out three. As a team, the Commodores did not walk a Louisville batter throughout the game, while striking out ten. Mason Hickman had another solid outing as the starter, allowing two earned runs on five hits in 5.2 innings of work.
Louisville will look to start another winning streak on the road, traveling to Virginia to face the Cavaliers on Friday at 6 p.m. EDT. Coverage will be available on WatchESPN and 93.9 The Ville.