Dores Advance in Hoover

Commodores defeat Auburn 6-4

HOOVER, Ala. — Vanderbilt advanced to the winner’s bracket at the 2023 SEC Tournament with a 6-4 win over Auburn at the Hoover Met on Wednesday night.

Patrick Reilly (W, 4-3) and Sam Hliboki each turned in strong performances on the mound and Davis Diaz went 2-for-3 with a pair of runs and a pair of RBIs.

Hliboki got the start and tossed four innings, allowing two runs on three hits. Reilly handled the final five frames for Vanderbilt and held Auburn to two runs on two hits while striking out eight to earn the win.

Auburn struck first with a solo homer in the top of the first by Cole Foster.

Vandy tied the game at 1-1 in the bottom of the first as Enrique Bradfield Jr. showed off his speed on the base paths. Bradfield worked a leadoff walk and then stole second and third on consecutive pitches. Diaz singled to the second basemen to score Bradfield.

The inning continued as RJ Schreck earned a walk and Parker Noland moved Diaz and Schreck up 90 feet on a groundout. Jack Bulger put the Dores in front 2-1 on a sac fly to bring Diaz home from third.

Auburn hit a second solo homer in the top of the third to pull even at 2-2.

Hliboki made way for Reilly in the top of the fifth. Reilly worked around an error and struck out three batters in a row to end the inning.

Vanderbilt pulled ahead in the bottom of the sixth. The Commodores loaded the bases and brought one run in on a fielder’s choice to lead 3-2.

Bradfield helped manufacture another run in the bottom of the seventh to double the lead. Bradfield reached on an error and advanced to second. He then took third on a wild pitch before scoring on an RBI single by Diaz.

Vanderbilt loaded the bases again in the bottom of the eighth. Noland and Bulger each walked to get the inning going. After an Auburn pitching change, Troy LaNeve singled through the right side to load the bases. With one out, Jonathan Vastine delivered an RBI single to score Noland. Calvin Hewett brought home a second run with a sac fly to left, giving Vanderbilt a 6-2 lead.

Auburn halved the deficit with a two-run homer in the top of the ninth, but Reilly got a strikeout looking to end the game.

4-seed Vanderbilt will face 1-seed Florida at approximately 8 p.m. Thursday night on SEC Network.