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Vandy Drops Rubber Match, Gives Series to Gators

In a hard-fought, exciting game for the Commodores, a late-inning rally finds its way from the Florida dugout and unexpectedly ties the ballgame to send it into extra innings.

Bruce Thorson-USA TODAY Sports

Vanderbilt led late, but a lack of composure stung the Commodores in one of their toughest losses of the season.

The Gators scored early with a long fly ball helped by the wind to make it out of the park for a three run home run, but the Commodores came back in the bottom half of the first with a two-run bomb out to center. Rhett Wiseman hit a long one in the bottom of the third to tie the game.

Dansby hit his second home run of the game in the bottom of the fifth to take the lead for the Commodores, making the score 4-3. Things felt pretty comfortable until the top of the seventh, when a fly ball for Florida scored a runner after a botched play at the plate. (The throw beat the runner by a mile and a half, but it was too far out, and Ellison couldn’t make it to the plate in time.) This called for a pitching change for Vanderbilt, with Ben Bowden coming to the rescue.

The Commodores got something going in the bottom of the seventh, thanks to another Florida error, and managed runners on second and third with only one out. Zander Wiel earned a walk to load the bases, and Bryan Reynolds earned another walk to force in a run-- and take the lead.

Will Toffey cleared the bases on a double that landed directly on the first base line to put the Commodores up 7-4. A long triple in the top of the eighth for Florida cut the Vanderbilt lead to 7-5 with one out, and a runner remained on third. After another run crossed the plate, Vanderbilt called for Jordan Sheffield in the bullpen. The damage stayed there, and the Commodores lead by a short score of 7-6 going into the bottom of the eighth.

It wasn’t until two outs in the top of the ninth that Florida managed to tie the ballgame at 7-7. In the bottom half of the inning, Jeren Kendall managed to get on base, but nothing could come from it and the Commodores entered extra innings.

The Gators scored twice in the top of the 10th thanks to some faulty throwing errors. The Commodores entered the bottom of the 10th down 9-7, but couldn’t get anything going. Vanderbilt dropped the third game of the series to Florida.

It appeared that Florida and Vanderbilt had been playing each other all season, and unfortunately, Florida came out on top this weekend. A full recap of the series will be available on Monday.