The Vanderbilt Commodores trailed 6-0 after the top of the 1st inning. After the completion of 1.5 innings, they were down 7-0. After two innings, they trailed 7-1. And after 2.5 innings, the Commodores saw themselves down 9-1.
Never wavering, the Commodores made a comeback for the ages, as they raced back to win the SEC Tournament Championship in the bottom of the 9th, defeating Ole Miss 11-10 in the process.
The hero of the day was Philip Clarke. The Commodore designated hitter was the one to walk it off, as his RBI single with two outs in the bottom of the 9th clinched the SEC Tournament Championship for Vandy. Clarke went 3-for-6 at the plate, three singles with three RBI and a run scored to his credit.
Before things unraveled, Ole Miss dished out haymaker after haymaker in the 1st inning. Cole Zabowski hit a single that brought Grae Kessinger in to score for the first run of the game. Then, Ryan Olenek reached on a fielder’s choice, allowing for Tyler Keenan to run in to score. Afterwards, Cooper Johnson reached base on an RBI single to bring Zabowski home.
It obviously didn’t just stop there. Jacob Adams drew a bases loaded walk, and then Thomas Dillard smacked in an RBI single to score Anthony Servideo. Dillard was taken down trying to advance to 2nd base, but obviously plenty of damage was done.
Ole Miss got right back to work as Grae Kessinger stole home to give them their 7th run of the ballgame in the top of the 7th. After an RBI single by Ty Duvall in the bottom frame, Kessinger got right back on his horse. He hit a two RBI single that allowed for Adams and Servideo to score for Ole Miss’ 8th and 9th runs of the game. With the lead up to 9-1, an SEC Tournament Championship seemed to be right in their grasp.
Things didn’t go that way, of course. In the bottom of the 3rd, Clarke hit a single that brought JJ Bleday in to score. Then, Pat DeMarco hit into a double play. But, on the DP, Ethan Paul was able to run in to score. From 9-1 to 9-3, the Commodores’ chances of winning increased a touch. But they would need quite the effort to continue this comeback.
That effort arrived in a big way in the bottom of the 4th inning. Bleday got things started with a sac fly to center that scored Duvall. Clarke then soon followed with an RBI single that scored Julian Infante. Then, DeMarco swung and pulverized one over the fence, a three-run bomb that suddenly shrunk the deficit to just one run after the Dores put up a five-spot in the inning.
On their heels, Ole Miss had to scamper to try and keep their lead. To their credit, they did. Servideo reached on a throwing error by 3rd baseman Austin Martin. As a result, Johnson was able to score, and the lead increased up to 10-8. But the Commodores continued their comeback quest. Julian Infante hit an RBI single that plated Harrison Ray. And as a result of that hit, the deficit shot back to one.
Ray would then step up in the bottom of the 6th. He hit a double down the left field line that scored Stephen Scott, and with that hit, the game was suddenly tied. Improbably so.
Vanderbilt would put the finishing touches on things in the 9th with Clarke’s big single, capping off a memorable performance in the biggest and most dramatic of ways.