NASHVILLE, Tenn. – No. 5 Vanderbilt used a strong start from Kumar Rocker and wiggled its way out of bases-loaded jams in each of the final two innings, clinching the series against the No. 25 Tigers with a 5-2 win on Friday night at Hawkins Field.
Stephen Scott (1-for-2) connected on his second home run of the series, pushing Vanderbilt’s advantage to 4-0 with a three-run home run in the first. The Commodores (33-9, 14-6 SEC) put five aboard in the frame with Ethan Paul driving in his 150th career run, scoring Austin Martin who led off with a single.
Rocker, who has fanned six-plus hitters in five of his last six starts, struck out a career-high 10 batters across seven innings. The freshman limited the Tigers to 1-for-6 (.167) with runners in scoring position while allowing six hits, two runs and a walk.
Auburn (27-16, 10-10 SEC) could not put a run across against reliever Hugh Fisher despite loading the in the eighth and ninth. Fisher induced a double play to close the eighth and added a punchout and fly out in the ninth. The southpaw logged his third save, allowing three hits and two walks while fanning three.The Tigers finished 4-for-18 (.222) with runners aboard and 1-for-10 (.100) with runners in scoring position. Auburn did not record a hit in three bases-loaded opportunities despite totaling nine hits.Vanderbilt loaded the bases with no outs on a pair of walks and single, adding an insurance run in the seventh as Harrison Ray scored JJ Bleday (leadoff walk) on a sacrifice fly. Philip Clarke (3-for-4) and Martin (3-for-5) produced two doubles apiece.The Dores look for their second consecutive sweep and third in league play in the series finale Saturday. First pitch is scheduled for 1 p.m. and can be seen on the SEC Network Plus. Vanderbilt will send right-hander Patrick Raby (6-1, 2.94 ERA) to the mound against lefty Brooks Fuller (2-1, 2.78 ERA).