Sonny Gray made his first relief appearance of the season, struck out the only batter he faced and got Vanderbilt out of trouble in the bottom of the sixth. The Commodores then scored six runs in the top of the seventh and went on to an 11-10 victory over Middle Tennessee State University on Wednesday at Murfreesboro.
Vanderbilt (31-9) led 4-3, but MTSU had runners on second and third when Gray, the team’s Friday starter, came in on what normally would be a bullpen day for him. He struck out Justin Miller, who gave the Blue Raiders an early 3-0 lead with a three-run home run in the bottom of the second.
Andrew Giobbi, Connor Harrell and Joe Loftus had consecutive doubles as all six of the Commodores’ runs in the seventh came with two outs.
MTSU (23-15) scored four in the seventh, one in the eighth and two in the ninth but never got even. That stretch included home runs by Bryce Brentz and Tyler Acker.
Brentz finished with a game-high five RBIs.
Aaron Westlake was 3-for-5 with two runs scored and two RBIs for Vanderbilt.
The Commodores return to Southeastern Conference play with a three-game series this weekend at Tennessee. Gray will start in the first game of that series.