Offense explodes as 'Dores cruise behind Fulmer

NASHVILLE, Tenn. – Vanderbilt used another stellar start from Carson Fulmer Friday night to cruise by Missouri 9-2 in the series opener at Hawkins Field.

The Commodores (31-12, 13-6) and Tigers (26-16, 12-7) entered Friday night tied atop the SEC East standings along with Florida. Carson Fulmer entered the game with a 16-inning scoreless streak after consecutive shutout appearances, and the junior kept the streak rolling with seven more shutout frames to notch his team-best eighth win of the season. The right-hander battled through control issues much of the night allowing at least one base runner in six of his seven innings but did not allow any runners past second base. The Tigers scratched out a pair of singles in the third but Fulmer worked his way out of the jam by striking out the side. Mizzou threatened again in the fourth with two outs but a ground ball to Zander Wiel at first base ended the threat. Back out for the seventh inning, Fulmer finished off his night with his only perfect inning of the night. Fulmer’s scoreless streak reaches 23 innings over his last three starts with the junior striking out an amazing 34 over the stretch after his 11 strikeouts Friday night.

The Vandy offense has been very good over Fulmer’s last three starts with Friday night’s 13-hit performance continuing the streak. Rhett Wiseman opened the night’s scoring with his team-leading eighth home run of the season, lining a solo shot over the right field fence in the first inning. Karl Ellison made it 2-0 in the second with a clutch single to right field to score Bryan Reynolds but it was the third inning that broke the game open for the Commodores. Vandy sent 11 men to the plate to score six runs on seven hits, the most runs VU has scored in an inning since a seven-run first inning against Tennessee on March 29. Dansby Swanson’s RBI-single started the rally in front of a two-run homer off the bat of Wiel. Back-to-back doubles from Reynolds and Will Toffey pushed the lead to six runs before Jeren Kendall’s two-run homer to right field capped the rally and made it 8-0 VU in the third.

All nine Commodores in the lineup posted at least one hit in the win led by Reynolds’ three-hit game. Wiel and Kendall each added two hits to the total with Kendall posting his third straight two-hit game. Fulmer’s 11 strikeouts push him over the century mark to a SEC-best 101 for the season and into 10th all-time at Vanderbilt with 247, six strikeouts behind Taylor Hill.

The win along with Florida’s loss to Kentucky puts Vanderbilt alone in first place in the SEC East division.

Missouri starter Reggie McClain was pegged with the loss allowing eight runs on nine hits over 2.2 innings. Zach Lavy had two of the Tigers’ six hits in the loss.

Saturday’s game time has been moved up to noon at Hawkins Field. Lefty Philip Pfeifer makes his first start of the season for the Commodores against Tigers’ right-hander Tanner Houck. The game will be available on SEC Network+.