NASHVILLE, Tenn. — A four-run third inning proved to be the difference as the Illinois State baseball team knocked off No. 1 nationally ranked Vanderbilt, 7-3, in the second game of a doubleheader on Sunday at Hawkins Field.
Derek Parola delivered a two-run single to highlight the third-inning rally that gave the Redbirds a 5-2 lead.
Starting pitcher Matt Walker and three ISU relievers then held off Vandy the rest of the way to give the Redbirds a split of Sunday's twin bill. Vanderbilt won the opening game, 9-1.
Colton Johnson (2-0) was credited with the second-game pitching victory after relieving Walker in the fifth and limiting the Commodores to two hits over the next three innings.
Mitch Vogrin got the first two outs in the eighth before Central Catholic product Jacob Gilmore entered the game and retired the final four Vanderbilt batters in order.
"We played like we belonged on the same field as them today," said ISU coach Steve Holm. "Walker has been our hottest pitcher and he matched up really well against them. Our bullpen did an incredible job throwing strikes and giving us great life."
Joe Aeilts had three hits and two RBIs in support of the Redbird hurlers. Central Catholic grad John Rave and left fielder Jordan Libman each had a pair of singles.
Tyson Hays had two RBIs, driving home Aielts with a sacrifice fly in the second inning and walking with the bases loaded in the third.
Parola, Ryan Hutchinson and Tri-Valley grad Jack Butler each went 2-for-3 in the opening-game loss to Vandy. Nick Zouras singled for ISU's only other hit.
The Redbirds scored their only run in the second inning when Butler's sacrifice bunt scored Hutchinson.
Starting pitcher Jeff Lindgren (2-1) took the loss after giving up six hits and five earned runs in four innings of work.
ISU returns to action Tuesday at Southeast Missouri State before squaring off on the road against SIU Edwardsville on Wednesday. The home opener is slated for Friday when ISU hosts Central Michigan at Duffy Bass Field.