Dores Handle Coogs

Bryce Cunningham strikes out eight

HOUSTON – Starting pitcher Bryce Cunningham turned in a career performance on the mound Saturday to help Vanderbilt defeat Houston 3-1 at Minute Maid Park.

Cunningham (W, 1-0) struck out a career-high eight batters over 5.2 innings of work to collect his first win on the season. The righty held Houston to one run on four hits.

Ethan McElvain and Brennan Seiber (S, 2) held the Cougars scoreless over the final 3.1 innings with Seiber recording his second save. The three pitchers combined for 11 strikeouts and only five hits allowed.

Matthew Polk put on a show with his bat and glove, hitting his first home run on the season to give the Dores an early lead and making a leaping catch at the wall in the bottom of the seventh to save a run and take away an extra-base hit.

Polk’s homer in the top of the third was the sixth of his career and put Vandy in front 1-0.

RJ Austin helped double Vandy’s lead in the top of the fifth. Austin led off the inning with a walk, stole second and then scored on a single by Camden Kozeal.

Houston got on the board in the bottom of the fifth with a solo homer, the only run Cunningham allowed in his outing.

Polk struck again in the top of the sixth after a leadoff single by Calvin Hewett. Polk then doubled down the line in left to score Hewett and push Vanderbilt’s lead back to two.

Houston threatened with a pair of runners in the sixth but McElvain escaped the jam and Seiber shut the door over the final two frames to get Vanderbilt the 3-1 victory.

The Commodores improve to 9-3 on the season and will wrap up their time in Houston on Sunday against Texas at 11:05 a.m.

The action will be streamed live without a paywall on and on the Astros X, Facebook and YouTube channels.