FAYETTEVILLE – Vanderbilt starting pitcher Grayson Garvin allowed just one run over eight strong innings as the No. 2 Commodores evened the three-game series with Arkansas with a 4-1 win on a dreary Saturday afternoon at Baum Stadium.
The Razorbacks are now 18-5 and 2-3 in Southeastern Conference play, while Vanderbilt improves to 21-3 and 3-2 in league competition.
Garvin improved his record to 4-1 on the season, pitching eight innings and allowing just a run on two hits, while striking out six. Navery Moore earned his fifth save of the season, throwing a scoreless ninth inning.
Arkansas starter Barrett Astin took the loss to drop to 2-1 on the season. Astin gave up three runs, just one earned, on five hits in four innings of work.
In relief, Brandon Moore threw three innings, allowing one unearned run, while Colby Suggs pitched two shutout innings.
James McCann hit his third home run of the season to account for the only run of the day for Arkansas. Bo Bigham tallied the only other hit for the Razorbacks.
Tony Kemp went 3-for-4 and scored two runs to lead Vanderbilt offensively. Jason Esposito drove in a pair of runs and had two hits.
Vanderbilt scored first for the second straight game, scoring three times in the top of the third. With one out, Kemp grounded a single to center and advanced to second on a fielding error by Bigham on a ball hit by Mike Yastrzemski. A single to left field by Anthony Gomez brought home Kemp for the first run of the game. After a groundout to first by Aaron Westlake, Esposito lined a single to the right-center field alley, scoring two runs to put the Commodores in front 3-0.
The Commodores extended the lead to 4-0 with a run in the top of the fifth. Kemp began the inning with a single to left-center field and moved to second on a ground out by Yastrzemski. Another ground out to second, this one by Gomez, advanced Kemp to third. A fielding error by Bigham on a ground ball hit by Westlake allowed Kemp to score the fourth Vanderbilt run of the game.
Arkansas scored its only run of the game in the home half of the seventh. With two outs, McCann sent a solo home run over the wall in left-center field for his third round-tripper of the season to cut the Vanderbilt lead to 4-1.
The Razorbacks were able to get the first two batters on base in the ninth after Commodore closer Navery Moore walked Bigham and Matt Reynolds reached on a fielding error by Esposito to put runners on first and second. Moore was able to bounce back and get Bates and Ficociello to strike out, before inducing a fly out to right field by McCann to end the ball game.
Arkansas and Vanderbilt conclude the three-game series on Sunday with first pitch slated for 1:07 p.m. The game will be televised by CST (channel 119 in Northwest Arkansas) and can also be seen online at ESPN3.com. Arkansas will start sophomore southpaw Randall Fant (1-1, 2.30), while Vanderbilt will throw senior righty Taylor Hill (1-0, 3.25). Single-game tickets are available for $10 and can be purchased at the Baum Stadium ticket office, while supplies last.