BATON ROUGE, La. – Two home runs powered the Vanderbilt baseball team to a 5-4 victory over LSU on Saturday afternoon at Hawkins Field. With the win, the Commodores claim their first-ever series sweep in Baton Rouge, while improving to 23-3 on the season and 8-1 in Southeastern Conference play.
The two teams traded runs all afternoon, as LSU jumped out to an early 1-0 lead. Vanderbilt answered back with three runs in the third, before the Tigers knotted things at three with a pair of runs in the fourth. The Commodores scored two in the seventh to regain their lead, and held on to claim their 15th consecutive road conference win.
Ethan Smith (1-0) earned his first win of the season behind an impressive relief effort. Smith covered 2.2 frames, allowing just one hit while striking out a pair. Luke Murphy picked up his fifth save of the campaign, working the final 1.1 innings. Murphy surrendered one earned run on two walks, while striking out two.
LSU struck first in Saturday’s matchup, plating one run in the bottom of the second. The Tigers led off the frame with a solo home run to left center to score their first run of the day and gain the early 1-0 advantage.
Vanderbilt answered back with a three-run frame in the next half to gain the lead. Enrique Bradfield Jr. began the inning with a single up the middle, before Carter Young blasted his second homer of the weekend with a two-run shot to put the Commodores in front.
Two batters later, CJ Rodriguez reached on a hit-by-pitch before advancing to second on a single from Jack Bulger. Spencer Jones capped the inning’s scoring with a single to center field to score one and increase Vanderbilt’s lead to 3-1.
LSU tied things in the fourth, rallying for two runs in the frame. The inning began with a hit-by-pitch followed by a walk to place runners on first and second. A single in the next at-bat brought one run across for the Tigers, forcing the Commodores to make a call to the bullpen.
After the Vanderbilt pitching change, LSU loaded the bases with a walk, before a bases-loaded hit-by-pitch scored one more in the inning to knot things at three apiece after four full.
The two teams went scoreless across the next two frames, before the Vanderbilt took the lead with two runs in the seventh. Parker Noland began the scoring sequence, reaching on a one-out infield single. In the very next at-bat, Bulger connected on his second home run of the weekend with a two-run blast to left field to put the Commodores in front, 5-3.
LSU threatened in the eighth and ninth, placing runners in scoring position in both innings. The Tigers would plate one run in the ninth to make it a one-run game, but Murphy stranded runners on the corners to secure the 5-4 win.
Vanderbilt will return home for a five-game homestand, hosting in-state foe UT-Martin on Tuesday evening in the midweek. The two teams are set for a 6:30 p.m. first pitch from Hawkins Field, with action airing live on SEC Network+.