BATON ROUGE, LA — Vanderbilt second baseman Tony Kemp provided a 10th inning RBI single Sunday to lift the Commodores to a 5-4 victory over No. 3 LSU in Alex Box Stadium.
Vanderbilt improved to 26-25 and 13-14 in the SEC. The Tigers dropped to 39-13 and 17-10 in the conference.
LSU has clinched at least a tie for the SEC Western Division title as the Tigers have a three-game lead over Ole Miss (14-13). LSU owns a tiebreaker over Ole Miss, so the Tigers have clinched at least the #2 seed in the SEC Tournament.
The Tigers are one game behind Kentucky (18-9) and a half-game behind South Carolina (17-9) in the overall SEC standings. LSU concludes the regular season at South Carolina beginning on Thursday night.
The Tigers’ next game is Tuesday night, when LSU plays host to Nicholls State at 6:30 p.m. in Alex Box Stadium.
“This loss stings a lot; it’s our toughest loss of the season,” said LSU coach Paul Mainieri. “We have to rebound from this, get back to practice tomorrow and start building the players up again. We didn’t really swing the bats well all weekend, and a lot of that is due to the arms Vanderbilt sent to the mound. But, there are no excuses - we just have to play better as we head into the final week of the regular season.”
Vanderbilt rightfielder Mike Yastrzemski tied Sunday’s game at 4-4 on a ninth-inning solo shot off of LSU closer Nick Goody.
Kemp plated pinch hitter Andrew Harris with a single to center field in the 10th inning and LSU was retired in order in the bottom half of the frame. Goody (1-1) was charged with the loss after allowing two runs on four hits in two innings of work.
Vanderbilt reliever Will Clinard (6-2) picked up the victory after entering the game in the eighth inning. Clinard worked 2.2 scoreless innings, allowing no hits with no walks and no strikeouts.
LSU took a 4-3 lead in the bottom of the eighth inning after shortstop Austin Nola drove home second baseman JaCoby Jones with a sacrifice fly to deep center.
Nola reached base four times and added a pair of RBI in his first game in the leadoff spot. Centerfielder Arby Fields added three walks and a run and rightfielder Mason Katz added an RBI single.
Vanderbilt leftfielder Jack Lupo collected three singles and drove in a run, centerfielder Connor Harrell added two hits, including a triple, and Yastrzemski smacked a double in addition to his ninth-inning homer.
LSU starter Ryan Eades fired 4.2 innings, allowing three runs on seven hits and with one strikeout. Vanderbilt freshman starter Tyler Beede allowed three runs on five hits and five walks and three strikeouts.
The Tigers’ Chris Cotton turned in an excellent relief outing. The left-hander entered the game in the sixth inning with two runners in scoring position and ended up working 2.1 scoreless innings.
Vanderbilt scraped together a pair of runs in the top of the second to take a 2-0 lead. Conrad Gregor led off the inning with a double just inside the left field line, Eades plunked Spencer Navin and Harrell reached on an infield single to load the bases. Third baseman Vince Conde plated Gregor on a sacrifice fly and Lupo scored Navin on a single to center.
LSU plated a pair in the bottom of the third. Katz scored Nola on an RBI single and first baseman Tyler Moore plated Fields on a sacrifice fly.
Nola drove home designated hitter Grant Dozar to increase LSU’s lead to 3-2 in the bottom of the fourth.
Gomez tagged an RBI single to tie the game at 3-3 in the fifth. The score would remain the same until the bottom of the eighth inning when the Tigers took a 4-3 advantage.