Omaha Bound

Vanderbilt clubs way to College World Series

NASHVILLE, Tenn. – For the fourth time in nine seasons, Vanderbilt is headed to the College World Series.

The Commodores scored in each of the first five innings, highlighted by two Austin Martin home runs and a three-run long ball from Pat DeMarco en route to a 13-2 win against Duke at the NCAA Nashville Super Regional on Sunday afternoon at Hawkins Field.

Vanderbilt (54-11) matched a program record with its 54th victory, joining the 2007, 2011 and 2013 teams. The Commodores head to Omaha, Nebraska, having won 30 of their last 32 games. Duke closes its second consecutive super regional appearance with a 35-27 overall record.

Seniors Stephen Scott and Julian Infante struck solo homers in the fourth and fifth respectively. The Commodores totaled five homers in a game for the second time this season, upping their single-season program record to 93.

The result marked the first time Vanderbilt has come back to win a super regional after dropping the opening game. The Dores were previously 0-6 but staved off elimination with a complete-game no-hitter from Kumar Rocker on Saturday to set up Sunday’s showdown.

Martin deposited the second pitch of the game into the left field bleachers. Ethan Paul reached on an infield single and Philip Clarke walked before coming home on a towering three-run home run onto Memorial Gymnasium from DeMarco.

The Commodores kept the pressure on in the second as Martin clocked his second homer of the game. The two-run shot, which came off freshman reliever Jack Carey, marked his first multi-home run game and upped Vandy’s advantage to 6-0.

Duke starter Bill Chillari (2-4) lasted just one inning, allowing three hits and five runs while walking a pair and adding two strikeouts. The start was the shortest of the season for the southpaw who was victimized by Martin’s second leadoff homer in the last 11 games.

Vanderbilt added three more in the third as Ty Duvall clubbed a run-scoring double into center and came home to score one batter later on a Julian Infante liner that ricocheted off the third baseman’s glove and skipped into left. JJ Bleday provided a two-out RBI-single for an eight-run lead.

Commodore starter Mason Hickman allowed two runs on three hits across four innings. With his nine strikeouts, the sophomore moved into a tie for ninth in single-season punchouts, matching Tyler Beede’s (2014) mark of 116. The right-hander has fanned nine-plus batters in four consecutive outings.

Right-hander Patrick Raby (10-1) entered in relief, notching his 32nd career victory. The senior, who owns the most wins in program history, held Duke to one hit across two scoreless innings. Raby fanned four and walked a pair.