NASHVILLE, Tenn. – No. 21 Missouri used a strong start from TJ Sikkema and added five runs between the fifth and the eighth innings, snapping No. 3 Vanderbilt’s 13-game win streak with a 5-2 victory on Saturday afternoon at Hawkins Field.
The result also ended Vanderbilt’s 10-game SEC win streak, its longest since 2013. The Commodores (40-10, 19-7 SEC) finished 2-for-15 (.133) with runners aboard and 1-for-10 (.100) with runners in scoring position, spoiling Kumar Rocker’s steady start.
The right-hander allowed six hits and three runs (two earned) across six innings while striking out four and walking another. Rocker (6-5) has limited opponents to three earned runs or fewer in 11 of his last 12 outings.
Sikkema (7-3) permitted five hits and two runs while walking three and fanning four in six frames. The southpaw, who entered the weekend fourth nationally in ERA, went five-plus innings for the 10th time in his last 11 starts and allowed just two extra-base hits.
Missouri (34-17-1, 13-12-1 SEC) broke through for a pair of runs to even the game in the fifth, capitalizing on consecutive one-out singles and a double steal. Eight-hole hitter Mark Vierling sent home the first on a groundout and a two-out Rocker wild pitch plated Tony Ortiz.
Three more hits, including an RBI-single from Peter Zimmermann, put the Tigers up one in the sixth. An inning later, a failed pickoff attempt led to Ortiz racing home. Ethan Smith limited the damage, striking out consecutive batters with the deficit at 4-2.
The Commodores opened the scoring in the fourth, taking advantage of a one-out Stephen Scott (2-for-4) single and Harrison Ray fielder’s choice groundout. Scott, who was recognized among the squad’s seniors, cut down a runner at the plate in the sixth as part of a 7-2 double play.
The teams cap the three-game series on Sunday with first pitch scheduled for noon. Vanderbilt will send right-hander Patrick Raby (8-1, 2.51 ERA) to the mound. The matchup will be broadcast on the SEC Network Plus and can be heard on WNSR 560 AM/95.9 FM and VUCommodores.com.