NASHVILLE – Vanderbilt broke through offensively, roughing up No. 16 Georgia with four runs in the fifth and three more in the seventh as part of a series-clinching 8-3 victory on Saturday afternoon at Hawkins Field.
The No. 15 Commodores (19-13, 7-5 SEC) smacked 12 hits, including five in the fifth, highlighted by aggressiveness at the plate and on the base paths to jump ahead 5-1. Three of the base knocks did not leave the infield in the frame.
Stephen Scott drove in half of Vandy’s runs including swatting a three-run home run to stretch the Dores’ lead back to five in the seventh after Georgia (23-9, 8-4) cut its deficit to three on a two-out, two-run triple in the top half.
Commodore leadoff hitters reached base four times and the offense cashed in, batting .364 (8-for-22) with runners aboard including collecting five hits with men in scoring position. Vandy also stole four bases in as many tries.
The Bulldogs led off the scoring in the fourth as a two-out misplay in left resulted in an RBI-double but the lead would be short-lived as Ethan Paul drove in Connor Kaiser on a two-out single through the right side in the home half.
Cooper Davis opened Vandy’s four-run fifth with a single before advancing to third on a stolen base and errant throw into center. Austin Martin gave the Dores the lead on an RBI-single into right and advanced two bases on an Alonzo Jones bunt single.
Two batters later, Pat DeMarco fought off a 1-2 pitch for an infield RBI-single before Scott thumped a run-scoring double into right. After UGA headed to the bullpen, Kaiser put down a two-strike squeeze bunt, reaching on the fielder’s choice which plated Jones.
Mason Hickman (6-1) scattered seven hits, allowing three runs while walking a pair and fanning six in 6.2 innings for the win. The freshman stranded runners in scoring position in three different innings. Tyler Brown did not allow a hit in 2.1 innings of relief while striking out four to pick up his third save.
Cam Shepherd led Georgia with two RBIs during a 1-for-3 afternoon while Adam Sasser and Tucker Bradley each registered two hits.
UGA starter Emerson Hancock (3-2) was tagged for eight hits and five runs (four earned) in 4.1 innings. The freshman fanned seven-of-eight hitters before Kaiser reached, and eventually scored, on a two-out single in the fourth.
Vanderbilt’s 12 hits were the most since totaling 16 at Mississippi State on March 17. Scott’s four RBIs matched a career-high as part of a 2-for-5 performance. Philip Clarke, Kaiser and Paul each added two hits.
The Commodores continue their eight-game homestand on Tuesday, hosting Western Kentucky at Hawkins Field. First pitch is set for6:30 p.m. and will be streamed on the SEC Network Plus.
— vucommodores.com —