HOOVER, Ala. -- Freshman Walker Grisanti’s first career home run came at the perfect time on Wednesday morning in No. 10 Vanderbilt’s 6-5 come-from-behind win over No. 1 Texas A&M in the second round of the Southeastern Conference Tournament at the Hoover Met.
The Commodores (43-15) rallied to tie the game in the eighth inning after giving up the lead in the sixth. Alonzo Jones led off the eighth with an infield single and was followed by singles from fellow freshman Julian Infante and Will Toffey’s third single of the day loaded the bases with no outs. Freshman Connor Kaiser brought the Dores even with a good at-bat that ended in a sacrifice fly to right field to score Jones.
Down a run in the top of the ninth, head coach Tim Corbin called on Grisanti to pinch hit forKarl Ellison. The Collierville, Tenn. native wasted no time, belting the second pitch from Aggies’ (41-14) closer Mark Ecker into the right field bullpen to put the Commodores back in front.
Back out for the ninth inning, Matt Ruppenthal walked the leadoff hitter to start the inning but a strikeout gave the right-hander his first out. The Commodores ended the game on an impressive double play with Infante starting the play on a grounder to first, throwing to Kaiser at second with Kaiser turning the ball back around to Ruppenthal to get the Aggies’ leadoff hitter Nick Choruby at first to end the game.
The two teams battled back and forth through the first six innings with the Aggies striking first with three runs in the second and the Commodores scoring three in the third to tie the game. Toffey’s two-out, two-run single scored the first two runs and Kaiser’s RBI-single tied the game. Infante gave Vanderbilt the lead in the fifth with a two-out solo homer to left field, his second home run in two games in the tournament.
The Aggies scored two more runs in the sixth with two outs to move in front for the final time before the Commodores’ late-game heroics.
Toffey led the way for Vandy with three hits and is now 5-for-7 in the first two games in Hoover. Freshmen Infante, Grisanti and Kaiser combined for five hits and four RBI in the win. Grisanti’s pinch-hit home run is the second pinch hit homer for the Dores in the tournament with Infante blasting a pinch hit homer in yesterday’s win over Missouri.
Ruppenthal earned the win out of the pen with 3.1 innings of work. The right-hander allowed only one hit in his fifth win of the season. John Kilichowski started for VU and gave up five runs on eight hits over 5.2 innings.
Ecker took the loss for the Aggies allowing one run on two hits. Jonathan Moroney and Austin Homan had two hits and two RBI in the loss.
Vanderbilt advances to take on the winner of the South Carolina/Ole Miss game and will play tomorrow at 5:30 p.m. ET on SEC Network.