NASHVILLE, Tenn. – After uncharacteristic command issues on the mound during SEC opening weekend, Vanderbilt starter Mason Hickman ensured the Commodores’ trend did not continue into the midweek.
The right-hander struck out a season-high 12 batters across six scoreless innings, lifting No. 8 Vanderbilt to a 3-0 victory against Belmont on Tuesday night at First Tennessee Park.
One game after committing four errors, the Commodores (16-5) showcased the leather, highlighted by a pair of sensational grabs from Harrison Ray and an Ethan Paul snag up the middle. Vandy snapped its season-high two-game losing streak and ended the Bruins’ (10-10) three-game win streak.
Stephen Scott belted his 19th career home run and second of the season, starting the scoring in the second. Scott added another run in the sixth, racing home on a passed ball after drawing a walk and taking third on an Ethan Paul single into left center.
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The 1-2 punch of Scott and Paul combined to finish 4-for-7. Paul added insurance in the ninth, driving home Scott after the left fielder led off with a sky-high double that landed on the mound and took third on a wild pitch.
Belmont threatened with a pair of walks against reliever Zach King before the southpaw buckled down, striking out five-hole hitter Hagan Severance to strand runners at the corners. King turned the ball over to right-hander Tyler Brown who locked up his team-high fourth save.
Vandy returns to Hawkins Field on Thursday, opening a three-game series against No. 14 Florida at 6 p.m. on the SEC Network. Friday’s middle game is scheduled for 6:30 p.m. and Saturday’s finale will start at 1 p.m. The final two games will be streamed on the SEC Network Plus.