Early Vandy lead holds up, Tech falls 10-1 to Commodores

NASHVILLE, Tenn. -- Tennessee Tech spotted 30th ranked Vanderbilt a nine-run lead in the first two innings, then played the Commodores even the rest of the way Wednesday, falling 10-1 in a game that was moved back one day because of cold weather Tuesday.

Tech (4-3) returns home this weekend to host a three-game series with Bradley. The teams will play a doubleheader Saturday and a single game Sunday, with action beginning at 1 p.m. each day in Bush Stadium at the Averitt Express Baseball Complex. Admission is free.

Vanderbilt (7-1) jumped on TTU starter Stephen Pryor (0-1) with four runs in the first inning and added five in the second, handing the junior from Mt. Juliet the loss in his first start as a Golden Eagle. Connor Harrell had big hits in each inning and drove in four runs for Vanderbilt.

Shortstop Brian Harris led off the contest with a home run down the left field line on a 3-2 pitch. Two singles and a hit batter loaded the bases. Pryor nearly got out of the jam, coaxing a strikeout and a sacrifice fly, making it 2-0 with two outs. But a walk to Riley Reynolds loaded the bases an Harrell delivered a two-run single.

Harris also started the rally in the second with a leadoff single. Two batters later Curt Casali knocked a two-run single up the middle to make it 6-0. Jason Esposito's RBI single made it 7-0, and Harrell came up with another clutch hit, this time a two-run double to open the lead to 9-0.

The Golden Eagles' lone run came in the top of the third. With one out, freshman Michael Morris singled and moved to second on a groundout. When Tate McMillan's sharp grounder toward third was mishandled, Morris raced home with an unearned run.

A pair of young Tech pitchers kept Vanderbilt quiet for the next three innings and Tech tried to rally. Sophomore Matthew Shepherd allowed just one hit, a leadoff single, in the bottom of the third inning, and the Golden Eagles loaded the bases in the top of the fourth but saw that chance snuffed by an inning ending double play.

Freshman Ryan Hopkins worked two scoreless inning in the fourth and fifth. He didn't yield a hit and allowed just one base runner, a batter he hit with a pitch. He struck out three.

A.J. Kirby-Jones pitched the sixth and Casali smacked a one-out home run to right field, his second of the season.

Chason Choate was on the hill for the final two innings for Tech and allowed just one base runner, an eighth inning double. He struck out two Vandy hitters.

Will Clinard (1-0), the second of three Comodore pitchers, eaarned the win. He worked 3.1 innings and struck out three while allowing one hit. Vanderbilt pitchers faned nine Tech batters.

Tech had one last charge, loading the bases in the ninth. Cassanova Donaldson had a one-out single, his second hit of the game, and Devin Rivers walked. Freshman pinch hitter Zephan Guyear also walked to load the bases but Vandy pitcher Sam Selman got a game-ending strikeout on a 3-2 pitch.