Game 1 Goes to the Dores

Vanderbilt beats Missouri 7-6 in Columbia

COLUMBIA, Mo. — Vanderbilt edged Missouri 7-6 to take the first game of the series at Taylor Stadium Thursday night.

The Commodores held off a late rally from the Tigers to earn the win. Chris Maldonado drove in a pair of runs on a 2-for-4 night and Matthew Polk homered for the fourth time this season.

Ryan Ginther (W, 1-0) earned his first win on the season with two scoreless innings of work.

Enrique Bradfield Jr. doubled on the first pitch of the evening on a grounder that bounced off third base. Bradfield moved to third on a balk and scored the game’s first run on a sac fly by RJ Schreck.

Missouri pulled even on a solo homer by Luke Mann in the bottom of the first.

The score remained 1-1 until the fourth inning as both starting pitchers settled in. Vanderbilt worked three walks to load the bases with one out in the top of the fourth. Freshman Chris Maldonado poked a grounder up the middle to bring home two runs and give Vanderbilt a 3-1 advantage.

Missouri clawed back with an RBI double in the bottom of the fifth. The Tigers put the tying run on third, but Ryan Ginther entered the game in relief and got the final out to keep the Dores on top by a run.

Vanderbilt pushed its lead back to two with the help of a pair of throwing errors in the top of the sixth. Jack Bulger reached on an error with one out before a single by Maldonado, his second hit of the game. Parker Noland then hit a grounder to third and reached first on a second error, allowing Bulger to score from third.

Missouri put runners on second and third in the sixth but Ginther recorded an inning-ending strikeout to preserve the 4-2 lead.

Matthew Polk lined a no-doubt home run to lead off the top of the seventh. Polk’s fourth homer on the season cleared the bullpen in left to put the Dores on top 5-2. Jonathan Vastine followed Polk’s shot with a double to right and moved to third on a sac bunt before scoring on a wild pitch to increase the lead to four.

Vandy added another insurance run in the top of the eighth with a pair of opposite-field hits. RJ Austin singled through the right side and tagged on a fly ball to deep center to take second with two outs. Calvin Hewett then singled through the right side and Austin scored from second.

The Tigers struck for four runs in the bottom of the eighth. An RBI single followed by a three-run homer trimmed the Commodores’ lead to one at 7-6 going into the ninth inning.

Missouri hit a line drive off the wall in left-center with two outs in the ninth but Bradfield got the ball in to Vastine who relayed the throw to third to catch the runner trying to stretch the double into a triple, ending the game at 7-6.

Nick Maldonado recorded his fourth save on the season with 1.2 scoreless innings.

Vanderbilt (25-5, 10-0 SEC) and Missouri (19-10, 3-7 SEC) will meet at 6 p.m. Friday for Game 2 in the series.