Offense Powers Dores

Troy LaNeve drives in six runs vs. Illinois State

NASHVILLE, Tenn. – Vanderbilt used 15 hits Friday at Hawkins Field to take Game 1 against Illinois State, 14-9.

Troy LaNeve paced the Commodore offense with a 3-for-4 night, driving in a career-high six runs on a home run, triple and a double. Alan Espinal and Matthew Polk each homered and drove in a pair of runs.

Carter Holton (W, 2-0) shutout the Redbirds over five innings and finished with 11 strikeouts. The southpaw finished just two strikeouts shy of matching his career mark.

Vanderbilt wasted no time putting runs on the scoreboard. Camden Kozeal, the reigning SEC Freshman of the Week, extended the bottom of the first with a two-out single to right. Espinal then lined a single to center and Jayden Davis, on the 10th pitch of his at-bat, brought in the game’s first run on an RBI-single to score Kozeal.

LaNeve then blasted his second home run on the season, a three-run shot to left, to give the Dores an early 4-0 lead.

LaNeve added on with two more RBI in the bottom of the third. Kozeal doubled to left field to lead off the inning and Jayden Davis worked a walk. LaNeve then ripped a line drive to left-center that got past the Illinois State center fielder and rolled all the way to the wall with LaNeve reaching third safely for a two-run triple.

Vandy struck again in the bottom of the fifth. Espinal singled and Davis was hit by a pitch. LaNeve doubled off the top of the wall in left to score Espinal and Matthew Polk followed with a double of his own to score Davis, giving Vanderbilt an 8-0 advantage.

Illinois State halved Vandy’s lead with a four-run sixth inning. Espinal launched his third home run of the season, a two-run blast, in the home half of the inning to make it a 10-4 game.

The Redbirds scored three more times in the top of the seventh but Vanderbilt once again responded in the home half of the frame.

Polk hit a solo homer with one out and Calvin Hewett singled on a bunt. After Hewett stole second, Jonathan Vastine doubled to the gap in right-center, scoring Hewett from second. RJ Austin kept the scoring going with a RBI single to plate Vastine. Austin took second on an error, stole third and then scored on a wild pitch, giving Vanderbilt a 14-7 lead.

Illinois State hit a two-run homer in the top of the ninth but the Commodores would go on to win 14-9.

Vanderbilt improves to 12-3 while Illinois State falls to 5-6. Game 2 of the series is set for a 1 p.m. start Saturday at Hawkins Field with the action streaming live on SEC Network +.