No. 10 Vanderbilt rolls to SEC title game
HOOVER, Ala. -- Tenth-ranked Vanderbilt used another big day at the plate to beat No. 7 Texas A&M 12-3 on Saturday afternoon at the Hoover Met to advance to the SEC tournament championship game on Sunday.
The Commodores (42-18) struck first in the second inning with a two-run homer to the opposite field off the bat of freshman Will Toffey and tacked on a solo homer from Zander Wiel and Toffey scoring on a wild pitch in the third. But the Aggies (45-11) would not go away scoring three runs in the first three innings to stay within a run of VU.
The Commodores for the second consecutive day used the big inning to put the game away; this time scoring five runs in the fifth inning. Rhett Wiseman started the inning with a single and was followed by a bunt single from Dansby Swanson. Aggies' pitcher Tyler Stubblefied's throw to first was errant, ending up in foul territory in right field to allow Wiseman to score from first. Wiel knocked in Swanson and reached on an error by the second baseman before moving to third on Will Toffey's double. With two outs, Jeren Kendall came through with the big hit of the inning, lacing a triple past a diving Aggies center fielder to score two runs.
Swanson added his fourth homer of the tournament with a two-run blast in the sixth. The junior went 2-for-5 with two RBI and three runs scored in the win and is now 7-for-17 (.412) with four home runs, seven runs and eight RBI in the tournament. Bryan Reynolds, Toffey and Kendall all chipped in two hits in the win as the middle of the Vandy order went a combined 9-for-21 with all 12 runs scored. Kendall leads the Commodores at the SEC tournament hitting .462 (6-for-13).
John Kilichowski was sharp in relief of Walker Buehler to earn the win. Kilichowski was perfect over his five frames, striking out five in his third win of the year. Buehler allowed three runs on six hits over four innings. The duo combined to retire the final 18 Aggies of the afternoon.
Texas A&M starter Andrew Vinson took the loss allowing four runs, three earned, on four hits in three innings. The Commodores scored eight runs off the Aggies' bullpen in the final six innings while limiting the A&M offense to just six hits in the game.
Vanderbilt returns to the SEC tournament championship game for the eighth time in 12 trips under head coach Tim Corbin. The Commodores' offense has put up 28 runs during the team's past two games (16 innings) and has eight home runs in four games in Hoover.