BATON ROUGE, La. – The Vanderbilt baseball team used a strong offensive effort to claim a 13-1 victory over LSU on Thursday evening at Alex Box Stadium.
With the win the top-ranked Commodores improve to 21-3 on the season, including a 6-1 mark in SEC play.
The Vanderbilt offense tallied a season-high 17 hits on the night, as eight of nine starters registered at least one hit. The effort was led by the duo of Jayson Gonzalez and Enrique Bradfield Jr., who finished with three hits apiece.
Commodore starter Kumar Rocker picked up his seventh win of the season improving to 7-0. The right-hander worked six innings of one-run baseball, allowing four hits. Rocker did not issue a walk on the night, while striking out eight Tiger batters on the night.
Reliever Sam Hliboki earned his second save of the season with a three-inning outing. Hliboki held the Tiger offense hitless across the final three frames while picking up one strikeout in the effort.
Vanderbilt struck first in the series opener, plating one run in the third. Thomas began the inning with his fourth triple of season, before coming across to score the game’s first run on a RBI single from Gonzalez to put Vandy in front, 1-0.
The Commodores exploded for 10 runs across fifth, sixth and seventh innings, including back-to-back four-run frames in the fifth and sixth.
Thomas reached on a hit-by-pitch to begin the fourth before advancing to second on a sacrifice bunt. Gonzalez picked up his second RBI of the night in the next at-bat with a RBI double to right field to bring one run across.
The inning continued with back-to-back singles from Bradfield Jr. and Carter Young to lead the bases, before Keegan scored two with a single right field. Jack Bulger capped the inning’s scoring with a sacrifice fly to right field to increase the lead to 5-0.
The Vanderbilt sixth began with back-to-back singles from Parker Noland and Thomas before they both advanced into scoring position on a sacrifice bunt. After Gonzalez drew a four-pitch walk to load the bases, Bradfield Jr. executed the squeeze bunt to bring one across.
With nowhere to put them, Young reached on a fielder’s choice, resulting in another run scoring for the Commodores before Keegan brought across the final two runs of the frame with a double to left to make it a 9-0 game.
LSU broke into the scoring column in the sixth with one run in the frame. The Tigers used a pair of singles to manufacture a run and bring the score to 9-1 after six full.
The Commodores scored two more in the seventh to widen their lead to 10. Noland began things with a leadoff walk before Matt Hogan doubled to right to place runners on second and third. In the next at-bat, Cooper Davis lined a two-run single to right to score a pair and set the tally at 11-1.
Vanderbilt added two in the ninth to move the score to 13-1, the eventual final.
The two teams return to the diamond Friday evening for the second game of the series. First pitch is set for 8 p.m. with action airing live on ESPN2.