NASHVILLE, Tenn. – No. 6 Vanderbilt scored seven runs in the first two innings and never looked back, matching a season-high seven-game win streak with a 10-4 series-clinching victory against Tennessee on Saturday afternoon at Hawkins Field.
The Commodores (22-5, 6-2 SEC) pounded out 14 hits including a team-high three from Cooper Davis. The top third of Vandy’s order (Davis, Harrison Ray and JJ Bleday) combined to go 6-for-12 with six runs and four RBIs, highlighted by Bleday’s fifth homer in four games.
The Volunteers (20-8, 2-6 SEC), who entered the weekend first in the league in ERA, allowed 10 runs and 14-plus hits for just the second time this season. Despite Vandy’s offensive surge, the Commodores did not draw a walk for the first time in a game since May 6, 2018 at Auburn.
Knoxville native Patrick Raby (5-0) allowed four hits and three runs in the first two innings before settling down. The senior did not allow a run the remainder of the way while striking out five in 5.1 innings. Hugh Fisher locked down his second save, permitting a hit and a run with five punchouts.
Stephen Scott (1-for-4) smacked a changeup into right field for an RBI-single, trimming the deficit to 2-1 and Philip Clarke (1-for-4) added another on a fielder’s choice as part of a two-run first.
Julian Infante (2-for-4) set the tone for a six-hit, five-run second inning, depositing a solo home run onto Memorial Gym. The long ball was his second of the week and 21st of his career. Davis sent Ty Duvall (single) and Jayson Gonzalez (double) home on a two-run double to the warning track in right center.
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Two batters later, Bleday (2-for-4) drilled a two-run shot into the right-field bleachers. The right fielder, who connected on an 0-1 pitch, remains atop the SEC in home runs with his 11th of the season after totaling a combined six as an underclassman.
The Commodores added two more in the fourth, taking advantage of consecutive bunt singles from Davis and Ray to begin the frame. Then, Clarke sent a dribbler to shortstop, breaking up the double play as he beat throw and the ball skipped by to score an additional run.
Gonzalez carried over his big Friday night, sending Infante (double) home on an RBI-single for a 10-3 advantage. It marked the 12th time Vandy has scored double-digit runs and the ninth in March.
The Commodores look for their first three-game sweep of Tennessee since 2013 on Sunday when the squads square off at 2 p.m. Vanderbilt will send right-hander Kumar Rocker (2-2, 4.43 ERA) to the mound against Tennessee’s righty Will Neely (2-1, 5.02 ERA). The contest can be seen on the SEC Network.