The rain and the clock in Nashville were in Vanderbilt’s favor Sunday as the Commodores beat Florida 5-4 in a rain shortened and time shortened baseball game.
Things didn’t start well for Gator starter Eric Hanhold as he didn’t get past the first inning. Vandy loaded the bases with one out and Vince Conde hit into a force play to drive in a run. Hanhold walked designated hitter Rhett Wiseman to load the bases, and he was replaced by Johnny Magliozzi who walked catcher Spencer Navin to force in a second run.
In the second inning, Florida got a run back on a Taylor Gushue homer, his second of the series, and the Gators scored three runs on four hits in the fourth to take a 4-2 lead. Justin Shafer led off the inning with a homer. Zack Powers drove in a run himself later, and Brady Roberson added another run with a bases loaded walk. Florida could have had more, but with the bases loaded and no one out, Connor Mitchell struck out and Casey Turgeon hit into a double play.
Mother Nature stepped in and rain caused a near-50 minute delay in the game. After the game resumed, the Gators never scored and the Commodores got back in the game. Vandy scored a run on a balk in the fifth inning and a run in the sixth on an RBI pinch hit by Xavier Turner.
Mike Yaztrzemski led off with a double in the bottom of the seventh, but Connor Harrell struck out and Conrad Gregor popped out. However, pinch hitter John Norwood hit a short grounder that Turgeon fielded, but his late throw to first allowed the run to score from second. The official scorer ruled it a single and an RBI for Norwood.
There was a rule in place before the game that no new inning could start after 3:15 p.m. local time because of Florida’s travel plans, and the Gators tried to retire the last hitter before time ran out. That ended up not happening.
O’Sullivan said that it’s a shame the rain caused a time limit, but the Gators didn’t execute the last three innings well enough to keep Vandy from scoring.
The Gators are now 11-14 in the season and 2-4 in SEC play. O’Sullivan said that although they lost, he can see some improvement in the team.
The Gators next take on in-state rival Florida State Tuesday at the Baseball Grounds of Jacksonville at 6 p.m.