Game One, Game Won

Vanderbilt run-rules Ole Miss 12-2 in series opener

NASHVILLE, Tenn. — No. 6 Vanderbilt baseball run-ruled No. 3 Ole Miss 12-2 in eight innings Thursday night to open conference play at Hawkins Field.

The Dores clubbed a season-high four home runs and tallied 17 hits, also a season-high. The 12 runs were more than enough for the Vandy pitching staff as Carter Holton (W, 2-0) earned the win with six strong innings.

Holton struck out five while only allowing a pair of runs. Bryce Cunningham came on in relief and threw two scoreless frames.

Matthew Polk went 3-for-4 with a home run and three RBI. Jonathan Vastine and Chris Maldonado also had three hits a piece and RJ Schreck and Parker Noland joined Polk in the three-RBI club.

Vanderbilt got a jumpstart in the second inning off the bat of Parker Noland. After Chris Maldonado singled with one out, Noland launched an opposite-field home run, his 15th career homer, to give Vandy a 2-0 lead.

Ole Miss pulled even with two runs on three hits in the top of the third. The Rebels threatened more with runners on the corners, but Holton got a pop out to limit the damage.

The bottom half of Vandy’s lineup struck again in the fourth as Maldonado drilled a low fastball 418 feet to center field for a solo homer, giving the Commodores one-run advantage. With two down in the inning, Jonathan Vastine doubled down the third base line to flip the lineup over and bring Enrique Bradfield Jr. to the plate.

Bradfield drilled a double to the corner in left to score Vastine from second and make it 4-2. Davis Diaz then singled to the second basemen who made an errant throw to first, allowing Bradfield to score on the play and give Vandy a three-run lead.

The Dores took advantage of another Ole Miss error in the fifth. RJ Austin reached on a throwing error and moved up to third on a Maldonado single. Matthew Polk brought home Austin on a sac fly to put the Commodores in front 6-2.

A pair of stellar defensive plays got the Dores through a clean sixth frame. After a lead-off single, Ole Miss hit a rocket to the gap in left-center but Polk made a diving catch to rob an extra-base hit and keep the runner at first.

The next batter smoked a grounder to the left side and Diaz made a diving stop, threw to second for one and Austin made the turn to first for the 5-4-3 double play to end the inning.

Polk kept his good night going with a lead-off, solo home run to left-center in the eighth as Vandy extended its lead once again. Vastine followed with a double to the left-center gap, his second two-bagger on the night.

After a groundout and a walk, RJ Schreck hit Vanderbilt’s fourth homer of the game to put Vandy up 10-2. This one was a three-run shot to right-center, Schreck’s third homer on the season.

Vandy scored the inning’s fifth run on an RBI single by Noland and the Dores ended the contest with Polk’s second hit in the frame, a single up the middle to put Vandy up by 10.

Vanderbilt (14-5, 1-0 SEC) and Ole Miss (14-4, 0-1 SEC) are scheduled to meet at 6 p.m. Friday for Game 2 in the series with action airing on SEC Network+. Saturday’s game will start at 1 p.m. and will also air on SEC Network+.