Midweek Magicians

Vanderbilt caps home slate with 5-2 win

NASHVILLE, Tenn. – No. 2 Vanderbilt came up big with two away and limited Middle Tennessee with runners aboard, running its streak to 11 consecutive midweek victories with a 5-2 win against the Blue Raiders on Tuesday night at Hawkins Field.

The Commodores (42-10) capped home regular season play with a 28-5 mark. Vanderbilt’s 11 straight wins in the midweek are the most for the program since running off 12 consecutive from March 27, 2012-March 13, 2013. The victory was also the 100th all-time against Middle Tennessee (18-34).

Harrison Ray provide a two-out, RBI-double in the sixth, slicing his first pitch into the left field corner while scoring Stephen Scott from first to put Vanderbilt ahead 3-2. Ray has driven in seven runs over his last five games and 16 runs in his last 18 outings. Jake Eder preserved the lead, stranding a runner at third with no outs by way of consecutive strikeouts and a flyout in the seventh.

Eder (1-0) struck out four across two scoreless innings while picking up his first win of the season. Jackson Gillis allowed a hit and fanned one as part of a scoreless frame. Tyler Brown locked up his 13th save, striking out a pair and permitting two hits while stranding two on base.

The Commodores tacked on a pair of insurance runs in the seventh as Ethan Paul looped a two-out double into left field and Pat DeMarco slapped an RBI-single through the left side. Six of Vanderbilt’s nine hits and three of its five runs came with two away.

Scott clobbered his first-pitch over the right-field bleachers to put the Commodores ahead 2-0 in the fourth. The dinger was his seventh of the season and 24th of his career.

Starting pitcher Mason Hickman allowed three hits and two runs while striking out 10 and walking a pair in five innings. The right-hander has fanned double-digit batters twice this season and has permitted just 12 earned runs in his last 13 outings (60.2 innings).

Middle Tennessee put two across to even the game in the fifth. Brycen Thomas, who collected a pair of his, knotted things up on a two-out, looping single into center. Reliever Carter Bair (1-1) was saddled with the loss, allowing three runs while walking three in 1.2 innings.

Vanderbilt closes its regular season with a three-game series at Kentucky beginning Thursday at 5:30 p.m. CT on the SEC Network Plus and WNSR 560 AM/95.9 FM. The Commodores enter the final weekend with a one-game lead in the SEC standings.