Vanderbilt baseball loses ninth straight to No. 1 Tennessee, hurting NCAA Tournament hopes

New game, same story for Vanderbilt baseball against Tennessee on Saturday.

Just like on Friday, the Commodores (33-18, 11-15 SEC) got a strong start from a pitcher (this time Carter Holton) who exited with the lead. But Vanderbilt then cycled through multiple relievers who couldn't hold that lead before falling, 7-6, to the Vols (42-9, 19-7).

The Commodores' NCAA Tournament hopes hang on by a thread with three pieces of daunting history facing it on Sunday.

A nine-game losing streak to Tennessee, the longest in over five decades.

Eight years and counting without a single win against a team ranked No. 1.

And eight consecutive series spanning over six years in which Vanderbilt has been swept after losing the first two games.

"Just thinking about a game, not thinking about everything that you just talked about," Corbin said.

The Commodores led when Holton exited the game after scoring three runs off Tennessee starter Drew Beam, but an inflated pitch count for Holton led to him departing after five innings. Greysen Carter replaced Holton, but he recorded only one out while giving up four runs in the sixth.

Ryan Ginther gave up a run of his own in the seventh inning.

Vanderbilt put its first two runners on in the ninth inning with a walk from Jacob Humphrey and a double from RJ Austin. Alan Espinal lined out right to second baseman Christian Moore. Colin Barczi hit a sacrifice fly to cut the deficit to one and Camden Kozeal grounded out to end the game.

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Carter Holton's start for Vanderbilt vs Tennessee

Holton had some tough luck in his start. During the third inning, he gave up a triple on a line drive to center field that JD Rogers dove for and missed. An infield single later in the inning scored Tennessee's first run.

Then, in the fourth inning, a fielding error, a walk and two singles − one of which was a bloop hit into no-man's land − added on another run for the Vols, unearned on Holton's ledger.

Holton ended up with a solid outing still, giving up two runs (one earned) over five innings with one walk and seven strikeouts. He threw 102 pitches, necessitating his removal.

"He really had to exhaust himself ... but he really sold out and pitched well," Corbin said.

When asked if he had considered keeping Holton in, Corbin said, "Oh yeah, but I think we also consider health too. That was a high-temperature 102."

Vanderbilt bullpen woes continue

With Vanderbilt's two most reliable relievers, Miller Green and Brennan Seiber, already having pitched Friday, the Commodores first turned to Carter and then Ginther.

Carter and Ginther both struggled to find the strike zone, as the two combined to walk four batters and hit one.

Luke Guth pitched well over the final 2⅓ innings. He retired all seven batters he faced with three strikeouts

Camden Kozeal's big game for Vanderbilt

After being mired in a slump for most of SEC play, Camden Kozeal has begun to play better. He hit a two-run home run in the fourth inning and notched two hits, a walk and two RBIs overall.

Davis Diaz and RJ Austin also had two hits apiece.

Aria Gerson covers Vanderbilt athletics for The Tennessean. Contact her at or on Twitter @aria_gerson.

This article originally appeared on Nashville Tennessean: Vanderbilt baseball falls to Tennessee, hurting NCAA Tournament hopes