Dores After Dark

Vandy advances to semifinals

HOOVER, Ala. – Vanderbilt and Mississippi State played into the midnight hour Friday morning at the 2024 SEC Tournament with Vanderbilt winning, 4-3, to advance to the semifinals for the second consecutive season.

The Dores struck first with some small ball in the top of the third. Braden Holcomb singled up the middle to lead off the frame and JD Rogers singled on a bunt to put a pair on base. After a Calvin Hewett sac bunt moved both runners into scoring position, Jonathan Vastine was hit by a pitch to load the bases.

Davis Diaz got the Commodores on the board with a two-run single to left to give Vandy a 2-0 lead, scoring Holcomb from third and Rogers from second.

Two innings later in the top of the fifth, Rogers worked a leadoff walk and Hewett singled through the right side to put runners on the corners with nobody out. A wild pitch allowed Rogers to score to give Vandy a 3-0 lead.

Mississippi State capitalized on a leadoff double in the bottom of the sixth, cutting Vandy’s lead to 3-1 with a two-out RBI single.

Vanderbilt pushed its lead back to three in the top of the seventh. Holcomb led off the inning with a walk and moved to second on a sac bunt. Hewett then singled through the right side to drive Holcomb in from second and make it a 4-1 game.

Hewett has driven in eight runs in the last five games for the Commodores.

Starting pitcher JD Thompson exited after six strong innings. Thompson struck out eight Bulldogs while holding Mississippi State to one run on five hits.

The Bulldogs loaded the bases in the bottom of the seventh but Ryan Ginther took over on the mound and got a strikeout to end the threat.

Ginther earned the save with 2.1 innings of work. Mississippi State scored twice in the bottom of the ninth to make it a one-run ballgame, but Ginther shut the door with a groundout to end the game and send the Commodores to the semifinals.

Head coach Tim Corbin won his 47th SEC Tournament game Thursday to become the all-time winningest coach in SEC Tournament history, passing the legendary Ron Polk.

Vanderbilt will face either Tennessee or Mississippi State Saturday on SEC Network. The Dores are on to the semis for the second consecutive season and the fifth time since 2013.