Dores Down Gators

Vanderbilt takes series opener, 10-5

NASHVILLE, Tenn. – Vanderbilt won the series opener over Florida, 10-5, Thursday night at Hawkins Field behind a season-high four home runs.

RJ Austin, Davis Diaz, Alan Espinal and Troy LaNeve each homered for the Commodores. Austin and Diaz drove in three runs each and Austin finished just a single shy of hitting for the cycle.

On the mound, Bryce Cunningham improved to 5-2 on the season with 6.0 innings of work. The righty held Florida to three runs on five hits and totaled seven strikeouts.

The Gators jumped out to a 1-0 lead in the top of the first on a pair of hits, but Cunningham settled in to retire the next 10 batters he faced.

The Commodores got on the board in the bottom of the third. After a two-out double by Austin, Diaz launched his fourth home run on the season, a two-run blast off Memorial Gymnasium to give the Dores a 2-1 lead.

The Gators pulled even on a solo homer in the top of the fourth, but Vandy responded in a big way in the bottom of the fifth.

The Dores pushed five runs across on five hits including a double, triple and a home run. LaNeve led off the inning with a double to the gap in right-center. With one out, Jonathan Vastine walked and Austin followed with a two-run triple to right-center, scoring both LaNeve and Vastine to put the Commodores back on top.

Diaz ripped a single up the middle to score Austin before Espinal blasted his fifth home run on the season 414 feet to center field to extend Vandy’s lead to 7-2.

The Gators got a run back in the top of the sixth but once again the Commodores responded. Leading off the bottom of the sixth, LaNeve sent the first pitch he saw over the batter’s eye in center field to give Vanderbilt an 8-3 lead.

Austin gave the Dores their largest lead, 9-3, with a two-out, solo homer that traveled 424 feet, his fourth homer on the season.

With two outs in the bottom of the sixth, the game entered a weather delay that spanned 1:16.

Florida cut into Vandy’s lead with a two-run homer in the top of the seventh to pull within four at 9-5.

Jack Bulger got a run back for the Commodores with a sac fly in the bottom of the seventh to give the home side 10 runs on the evening.

Florida loaded the bases with two outs in the top of the ninth but Greysen Carter took over on the mound and recorded his second save with just four pitchers.

With the win, Vanderbilt set a new program record with its 16th consecutive single-season home victory. The Dores improve to 28-10 overall and 9-7 in the SEC.

Game 2 between Vanderbilt and Florida is set for a 6 p.m. first pitch Friday on ESPN2.