COLUMBIA, Mo. – The top-ranked Vanderbilt baseball program used early offense and stellar pitching to power to an 11-3 victory over Missouri on Friday evening at Taylor Stadium.
With the win the Commodores claimed the series and moved to 17-3 on the season including a 4-1 mark in Southeastern Conference play.
Coming off a no-hit performance six days ago, Vanderbilt starter Jack Leiter continued his impressive stretch of pitching. The sophomore right-hander worked seven hitless innings, racking up 10 strikeouts on the night while yielding two walks.
Leiter picked up his sixth win of the season to improve to 6-0 and has not allowed a hit across his last 16 innings of work.
The Commodore arms carried a no-hit bid into the bottom of the ninth before Tre Morris ripped a two-out single to right center to break up the potential no-hitter. The Tigers used a three-run homer in the ninth to break into the scoring column and prevent Vandy from capturing its fifth shutout of the season.
The Commodores struck first in the matchup with four runs in the very first inning. Enrique Bradfield Jr. sent the third pitch of the ballgame to left field for a leadoff double before swiping third to collect his 16th stolen base of the season.
In the very next at-bat, CJ Rodriguez notched his second home run of the weekend with a two-run shot to deep left field, making it a 4-0 contest after one half inning.
The Commodores used a two-out rally in the second to put up a three-spot and extend the lead. After a pair of groundouts began the frame, Bradfield Jr. picked up his second hit of the day with an infield single to the Mizzou shortstop. Carter Young followed with a RBI double to left center, scoring one.
Keegan continued the inning with an infield single to place runners on the corners while Bulger capped the frame’s scoring with a two-run double to left center to push Vanderbilt’s lead to 7-0.
The two teams went scoreless across the next two frames before Vandy added a pair in the top of the fifth. Keegan sent the first pitch of the inning to deep right center for his fifth home run of the season. Isaiah Thomas brought across the second run of the frame with a sacrifice fly to center field, widening the margin to 9-0.
The Commodores added two more in the seventh as Young notched his second RBI double of the night. Missouri broke through for three runs in the ninth to set the score at 11-3, the eventual final.
The two teams will return to the diamond Saturday afternoon for the series finale. The contest is scheduled for a 5 p.m. first pitch from Taylor Stadium with action airing live on SEC Network+.