HOOVER, Ala. – Top-seed Vanderbilt stifled Mississippi State with runners on base and made the most of its three hits, advancing to the SEC Tournament semifinals while blanking the No. 2-seed Bulldogs 1-0 on Thursday night at Hoover Met. Stadium.
Mississippi State (46-12) put a runner on in its first six innings against Vanderbilt starter Drake Fellows only to bat .083 (1-for-12) with men aboard. The Bulldogs notched consecutive one-out singles in the fifth before Fellows struck out leadoff batter Jake Mangum and two-hole hitter Rowdey Jordan.
Julian Infante looped a two-out, 0-2 single into shallow left in the second inning for the eventual game-winning hit. The RBI was his 27th in the last 33 games and was the only damage against Bulldogs lefty Ethan Small (8-2) who struck out 11 and allowed just three hits in seven frames.
In the sixth, Justin Foscue lined a one-out single into center and took second on a wild pitch. Once again Fellows buckled down, fanning Dustin Skelton and Josh Hatcher to eliminate the threat. The right-hander permitted just five hits while striking out eight in six scoreless frames while improving to 11-0.
Reliever Zach King entered with two aboard and one out in the seventh, striking out Mangum on six pitches before inducing an inning-ending groundout from Jordan. The southpaw retired all three batters he faced, paving the way for closer Tyler Brown with one out in the eighth.
Brown allowed just one hit in the final 1.2 frames while notching his SEC-leading 14th save. The Bulldogs finished .063 (1-for-16) with runners aboard and .000 (0-for-7) with runners in scoring position.
The victory was Vanderbilt’s (47-10) 20th in the last 21 games. The Commodores advance to the semifinals for the first time since 2015 and will face the winner of No. 5-seed LSU and Mississippi State on Saturday tentatively at 3:30 p.m. on the SEC Network.