COLUMBIA, Mo. – After rain pushed first pitch back two hours, the top-ranked Vanderbilt baseball team used three home runs to cruise to a 10-2 victory over Missouri on Thursday night at Taylor Stadium.
With the win, the Commodores move to 17-3 on the season, including a 3-1 mark in Southeastern Conference play.
Vanderbilt fell behind early in the series opener as Missouri jumped out to a 1-0 lead. The Commodores went on to put up two-run innings in the third and fourth before scoring six runs across the sixth, seventh and eighth frames to put the game out of reach.
All nine Commodore starters registered at least one hit in the contest as Vanderbilt registered a season-high tying 16 hits in the matchup. Six batters turned in multi-hit outings, led by sophomore CJ Rodriguez, who finished 3-for-5 with a team-high three RBIs.
Vanderbilt starter Kumar Rocker (6-0) picked up his sixth win of the season with another solid outing. The right-hander turned in his fourth consecutive quality start, working six innings, allowing two runs (one earned) on five hits and two walks while striking out five batters.
Sophomore Sam Hliboki picked up his first save of the season, working three scoreless innings to close out the game and secure the victory.
Missouri struck first with one run in the second. The Tigers used a lead-off single followed by a one-out walk to place runners on first and second.
Two batters later an errant throw to first base allowed the game’s first run to cross placing the Tigers ahead 1-0 after two innings of action.
The Commodores answered back with two runs in the next half to take a one-run lead. Cooper Davis began the scoring sequence by sending a one-out single through the right side before Jayson Gonzalez followed with a walk to put two on.
Two batters later Carter Young registered his 15th RBI of the season with a base knock with a ball up the middle to score one and put Vanderbilt in the scoring column.
The Dores took the lead in the very next at-bat as Dominic Keegan lined a single through the right side to score the inning’s second run placing Vanderbilt in front 2-1.
The Commodore fourth began with back-to-back singles from Parker Noland and Isaiah Thomas before Davis beat out a bunt to third to load the bases. A double play ball in the next at-bat allowed one run to cross while Enrique Bradfield followed with a RBI single through the right side to increase the Vandy lead to 4-1.
Vanderbilt broke things open with a four-run inning in the sixth highlighted by two home runs. Gonzalez led off the inning with a solo shot to right center marking his third homer of the season.
After Young and Keegan reached on a pair of hits, Rodriguez notched his third long ball of the campaign with a three-run shot to left to extend the margin to 8-1.
Missouri added one in the home half as an RBI double down the first base line scored one to make it a 8-2 contest.
The Commodores responded with their third homer of the game in the top of the seventh as Thomas joined in on the action with his team-leading sixth round-tripper of the season. Thomas connected on the third pitch of the inning with a deep drive to right center to push the margin to 9-2.
Vanderbilt added one in the eighth as Davis drew a bases-loaded walk to bring a run across and set the score at 10-2, the eventual final.
The two teams will return to the diamond Friday evening for game two of the series. The contest is scheduled for a 7 p.m. first pitch from Taylor Stadium with action airing live on SEC Network+.