Opening Conference Play with a Bang

Vanderbilt scores 11 unanswered to run-rule ranked Auburn

NASHVILLE, Tenn. – No. 9 Vanderbilt run-ruled No. 18 Auburn, 11-1, in eight innings Friday night at Hawkins Field to start SEC action 1-0.

Vandy starting pitcher Carter Holton (W, 3-0) turned in a quality start, holding the Tigers to one run on four hits with nine strikeouts and one walk.

At the plate, Jayden Davis went 4-for-5 with three runs scored and two driven in. Jonathan Vastine homered and totaled a team-high three RBI.

A wild pitch in the top of the first inning allowed Auburn to score the game’s first run, but Vanderbilt would go on to score the next 11 runs to end the contest in eight innings.

The Dores didn’t take long to pull even. Davis led off the bottom of the second with a single and moved up to second on a wild pitch. With two outs, Calvin Hewett singled up the middle to score Davis from second and make it a 1-1 game.

Vandy wasn’t done yet. With Hewett on second after his 13th stolen base, Vastine gave the Commodores the lead with a two-run blast to right field. Vastine’s third homer on the season traveled 404 feet and gave the home team a 3-1 lead.

Auburn put runners on the corners in the top of the third but Holton squashed the threat with his fifth strikeout of the game, ending the inning and keeping the Vandy lead at two.

The Dores added to their lead in the bottom of the fourth. Once again it was Davis getting things going with a leadoff single. Braden Holcomb and Hewett then worked back-to-back walks to load the bases and Vastine drove in a run on a fielder’s choice. RJ Austin put the Dores in front 5-1 on an infield single that scored Holcomb.

The Commodores chased two more runs home in the bottom of the fifth. Alan Espinal and Troy LaNeve hit back-to-back singles to lead off the frame. Davis then clubbed his third hit on the night to score Espinal. Matthew Polk lined a double over the head of Auburn’s left fielder to score LaNeve and push Vandy’s lead to 7-1.

Holton put together a streak of 13 consecutive batters retired until Auburn knocked a two-out double in the top of the seventh. Holton got a fly out to end the inning and strand the runner on second.

Vanderbilt plated four runs in the eighth to end the game. Austin worked a leadoff walk and stole second, his 14th stolen bag this season. Davis Diaz brought home Austin with an RBI single to left and advanced to second on a wild pitch. After a pitching change, Espinal walked and Jack Bulger made a pinch-hit appearance, grounding out to score Diaz.

Davis capped off his four-hit performance with an RBI triple to left-center, scoring Espinal. Davis ended the game with two outs in the inning, touching home on a passed ball to give Vandy its 10-run lead.

The Commodores (16-3, 1-0 SEC) push their win streak to 11 games and have won six consecutive SEC openers. Auburn falls to 13-4 on the season and 0-1 in the SEC. The two teams will meet for Game 2 at 2 p.m. Saturday at Hawkins Field.