NASHVILLE, Tenn. — Vanderbilt doubled up Georgia 16-8 Saturday afternoon to clinch the series at Hawkins Field.
Vanderbilt totaled 18 hits to win its tenth game in a row and remain unbeaten in conference play. Chris Maldonado went 3-for-3 with three RBI, three runs scored and a pair of doubles. Matthew Polk added a pair of hits and drove in three runs as well. Every batter in the lineup recorded a hit and scored a least once.
Georgia used a two-out solo home run in the top of the first to take an early 1-0 lead but Vanderbilt answered quickly.
Enrique Bradfield Jr. sent the first pitch he saw over the wall in right-center for his third leadoff home run on the season to tie the game at 1-1 in the bottom of the first.
RJ Schreck kept the inning going with a one-out walk and RJ Austin followed with another walk. The duo stole second and third before Maldonado plated the pair on a single to right field, giving the Commodores a 3-1 advantage after one full.
Vanderbilt loaded the bases in the bottom of the third after a leadoff double by Schreck and a pair of walks. Polk poked a two-out, two-run single through the left side to score Schreck from third and Austin from second to put Vandy on top 5-1.
Georgia loaded the bases with one out in the top of the fifth, but Owen limited the damage to just one run as the Bulldogs trimmed Vandy’s lead to three.
The Commodores cashed in on walks once again in the fifth to get the run back. Maldonado and Noland each worked walks with one out to bring Polk to the plate. Polk again delivered with a single through the left side to score Maldonado from second.
Jonathan Vastine followed with an RBI single to right field to score Noland and advance Polk to third with two outs. Davis Diaz drove a base knock up the middle to score Polk and make it 8-2, Vanderbilt.
Georgia roared back with a six-run frame in the sixth, highlighted by a grand slam by Connor Tate, to pull even at 8-8.
Once again the Commodores had an answer. Jack Bulger led off the home half of the sixth with a single and Austin reached on a hit-by-pitch. Maldonado then doubled off the wall in left to score Bulger and Austin moved up to third before scoring on a throwing error.
Parker Noland singled to plate Maldonado and put Vanderbilt back in front by three.
The Commodores poured it on in the eighth with five more runs to reach the 16-run mark for the third times in the past five games. Vandy used six hits in the inning. Maldonado hit his second double of the game to lead off and Noland walked before Calvin Hewett loaded the bases on a bunt-single.
Vastine and Bradfield hit back-to-back RBI singles as the Dores kept the bags full. A fielder’s choice brought in another run before Schreck tallied his third hit with an RBI single. Austin singled in a fourth run to extend the lead to 16-8.
Bryce Cunningham, who entered in relief of starting pitcher Hunter Owen, retired the side in the ninth to record the win, his first on the season. Owen tossed 5.1, allowing six hits while striking out five. Cunningham tossed the final 3.1 innings and allowed three earned while also striking out five.
Vanderbilt (22-5, 8-0 SEC) and Georgia (15-12, 1-7 SEC) meet for the series finale at 1 p.m. Sunday at Hawkins Field with action airing on SEC Network+.