OMAHA, Neb. – Vanderbilt senior Stephen Scott crushed two home runs and right-handed freshman Kumar Rocker was elusive as the Commodores moved to within one win of advancing to the College World Series finals with a 6-3 win against Mississippi State on Wednesday at TD Ameritrade Park.
The Commodores (56-11) struck for five runs in the fifth highlighted by a two-out, three-run homer from Scott. Vanderbilt batted around in the frame and received an RBI-double from JJ Bleday, who notched his 26th multi-hit performance and sixth three-hit game of the season.
Rocker (11-5) limited the Bulldogs to 1-for-14 (.071) with runners aboard including 1-for-7 (.143) with runners in scoring position. The Athens, Georgia, native kept Mississippi State (52-14) off the board over his first five innings, allowing five hits and one run while walking one and striking out six in six innings.
Mississippi State broke through against Commodore reliever Patrick Raby, producing three hits and a pair of runs including leadoff solo homer from nine-hole hitter Marshall Gilbert. Jake Mangum followed with a two-bagger and came around to score on a Tanner Allen RBI-double.
Commodore closer Tyler Brown needed just four pitches to halt any further damage, striking out Dustin Skelton with runners at the corners to preserve a three-run advantage. The sophomore, who tossed the final 2.1 innings, matched Brian Miller’s single-season program record (2013) with his 16th save.
Mississippi State starter Peyton Plumlee (7-5) was saddled with the loss, allowing three runs on six hits while walking one and striking out five. The Commodores struck for a pair against reliever Trysten Barlow, who permitted two runs on a hit and walk without recording an out.
Vanderbilt looks to lock up its third trip to the College World Series finals with a win on Friday at 6 p.m. The contest will air on ESPN and can be heard on WNSR 560 AM/95.9 FM and VUCommodores.com. The Dores will face the winner of Louisville and Mississippi State, who tangle on Thursday at 7 p.m.