Commodores blank Bruins

LOS ANGELES, Calif. – No. 1 Vanderbilt scored early and used a pair of outstanding pitching performances on Friday night to shut out No. 4 UCLA 6-0 at Jackie Robinson Stadium.

Carson Fulmer and Philip Pfeifer combined on the team’s first shutout of the season on opening day and repeated the performance again Friday, handing the Bruins (11-2) their first shutout loss of the season. Fulmer was steady over his season-best 6.1 innings, working in and out of trouble. The Commodores (11-2) staked Fulmer to an early lead with two runs in the top of the first and the junior went to work from there. Fulmer navigated a two-out walk in the first then faced a bases loaded jam in the second after a pair of walks and a double. But he responded with his third strikeout of the inning to end the threat. Fulmer walked the leadoff man in the third and a single from Ty Moore followed to put two Bruins on with no outs. After a line out to right field, Fulmer again responded with a strikeout but this time battery-mate Karl Ellison ended the inning with a strikeout-throw-out double play. The duo repeated the strikeout-throw-out double pay to kill a UCLA rally in the fifth.

Fulmer finally departed in the sixth with one out and two on for Philip Pfeifer. The lefty took the ball and the shutout to the end working the final 2.2 innings in perfect fashion. Fulmer and Pfeifer combined to not allow a hit over the final four innings and only a single over the last six frames. UCLA had just three hits in the game, matching the fewest hits yielded by Vanderbilt this season. Fulmer finished the night with nine strikeouts and now has 20 over his last two starts (14.1 innings).

The Vanderbilt offense wasted no time jumping on UCLA starter James Kaprielian, scoring twice in the first inning. Bryan Reynolds worked a leadoff walk then moved to third on a hit-and-run single through the right side by Rhett Wiseman. Dansby Swanson cashed in on the opportunity, banging a single through the left side for the first run. A UCLA error led to the second run in the inning with Wiseman coming around to score on an errant throw. Wiseman struck again in the fifth with a line drive home run off the top of the Bruins’ hitting facility beyond the right field wall.

The Commodores put the game away in the sixth thanks to a pair of doubles. Will Toffey led off with a double and came into score on Karl Ellison’s double, his career-best third hit of the night. Tyler Campbell added a sacrifice fly and a bases loaded walk to Ro Coleman in the seventh sealed the deal.

Ellison’s three hits led all players with six Commodores combining for 10 hits in the win. Wiseman’s second home run of the season matches Zander Wiel for the team lead.

Vanderbilt heads to USC tomorrow afternoon with first pitch set for 4 p.m. CT at Dedeaux Field. Lefty John Kilichowski gets the ball for the Dores against Trojans’ left-hander Kyle Twomey.