KNOXVILLE (UTSports.com) – Vanderbilt freshman Caleb Cotham held the Tennessee baseball team scoreless through seven innings Saturday while leading the 13th-ranked Commodores to a 9-2 series-clinching win over the Volunteers at Robert M. Lindsay Field at Lindsey Nelson Stadium.
The Vols are now 25-22 (11-12 SEC) on the year, and their current four-game losing streak is their longest of the season. Entering the weekend, Tennessee had not lost a Southeastern Conference series at home this year. The Big Orange look to end their skid in the series-finale starting Sunday at 2 p.m.
Cotham improved his season record to 7-3 by holding the Vols to two runs on six hits with four walks and six strikeouts through seven innings.
Senior second baseman Andy Simunic was responsible for two of Tennessee’s six hits on the day. Vanderbilt (33-13, 13-9 SEC) totaled 14 hits.
Vandy used a walk, a hit batsman and a single to load the bases with no outs in the top of the first inning Saturday. Commodores second baseman Alex Feinberg opened the day’s scoring with an RBI sacrifice fly that plated leadoff man Davis Macias, and Shea Robin followed with a two-run double.
The Dores’ first-inning barrage was capped by an Andrew Giobbi RBI basehit that put Vandy up 4-0.
Tennessee found itself facing a five-run deficit after VU right fielder Dominic de la Osa delivered an RBI single in the top of the second. And things continued to worsen in the third when Feinberg slugged a solo homer to left field.
De la Osa drove in his second run of the game with an RBI basehit in the fourth, giving the Commodores at least one run in each of the first four innings.
Tennessee starting pitcher Bryan Morgado was lifted after just four innings, during which he was touched for seven runs on nine hits with three walks and three strikeouts. He took the loss to fall to 5-3 after posting his lowest strikeout total of the year in his shortest start of the season.
A two-out RBI double by Commodores designated hitter Andrew Giobbi in the seventh pushed the Vandy lead to eight runs, and VU shortstop Ryan Flaherty added an RBI double in the eighth to put his club comfortably on top 9-0.
The Vols managed to load the bases against Cotham with no outs in the bottom of the eighth. Tennessee centerfielder Kentrail Davis then drew an RBI base on balls to erase the Commodores’ shutout bid. Junior Jarred Frazier brought home Tennessee’s final run with an RBI sacrifice fly later in the eighth after Cotham had given way to reliever Drew Hayes.
Tennessee junior Ty’Relle Harris (2-1, 3.75 ERA) likely will start on the mound Sunday opposite Vanderbilt junior right-hander Nick Christiani (5-2, 3.64 ERA).