TUSCALOOSA, Ala. – No. 6 Vanderbilt smashed a season-high five home runs including two from right fielder JJ Bleday and another from Pat DeMarco in his return to the lineup, clinching the series against Alabama with a 13-5 victory on Saturday night at Sewell-Thomas Stadium.
After missing more than a month due to injury, DeMarco made an immediate impact in his first at-bat. Facing a full count with one away in the second, the sophomore crushed a three-run home run over the 390-foot sign in center. He added a run-scoring single in the seventh as part of a four-RBI day.
Bleday, the SEC’s leader in home runs, added his 18th and 19th of the season. The junior has clubbed 12 in the last 16 games, belting a two-run dinger in the third and another in the ninth. Julian Infante added his seventh long ball in 15 games, drilling one over left-field scoreboard.
With the victory, the Commodores (30-9, 11-6 SEC) locked up their fourth SEC series win in the last five opportunities. Vanderbilt searches for its second league sweep when the teams close the three-game set on Sunday at 1 p.m. The contest can be seen on the SEC Network Plus.
Starter Kumar Rocker (4-4) did not allow a hit (infield single) until the fourth and overcame a season-high four walks to secure the win. The right-hander permitted single runs in the fourth and fifth but limited the Crimson Tide to 1-for-13 with runners aboard.
Alabama (24-16, 4-13 SEC) cut its deficit to a pair in the sixth against Commodore reliever Zach King as Joe Breaux drove in one on an infield chopper that toed the first-base line. A wild pitch plated Breaux but King minimized the damage, inducing a groundout and lineout to strand one.
Designated hitter Ty Duvall swatted a two-run home run into right field, stretching Vandy’s lead to five in the seventh. His fifth career homer scored DeMarco, who kept the inning alive, sending a two-out RBI-single into left field one batter earlier.
Harrison Ray contributed his 20th career stolen base and team-leading 13th of the season. The second baseman was among six Commodores who totaled multiple hits. Nine different Vanderbilt players reached base including Ethan Paul and Stephen Scott who walked twice.
Alabama starter Brock Love (4-3) allowed six runs (five earned) on six hits while striking out six and walking a pair. The Crimson Tide’s top-three in the order finished a combined 0-for-8. Six-hole hitter Brett Auerbach (2-for-4) was the lone Alabama player with multiple hits.
#51 JJ Bleday
- OF / 6′ 3″ / 205 lbs / Junior
#18 Pat DeMarco
- OF / 5′ 11″ / 205 lbs / Sophomore
#20 Ty Duvall
- C / 5′ 11″ / 190 lbs / Junior
#22 Julian Infante
- IF / 6′ 3″ / 215 lbs/ Senior
#34 Zach King
- LHP / 6′ 6″ / 210 lbs / Junior
#10 Ethan Paul
- IF / 5′ 10″ / 185 lbs / Senior
#2 Harrison Ray
- IF / 5′ 11″ / 190 lbs / Junior
#19 Stephen Scott
- UTL / 5′ 11″ / 200 lbs / Senior
#80 Kumar Rocker
- RHP / 6′ 4″ / 255 lbs / Freshman