LOS ANGELES – The second-ranked Vanderbilt Commodores allowed just two hits, but could not muster enough offensively, falling 3-2 at No. 6 UCLA in the opener of the Southern California College Baseball Classic on Friday night at Jackie Robinson Stadium.
Commodore starter Kumar Rocker (2-1) matched a career high with four walks and lasted just three innings, allowing three runs (two earned) on two hits while striking out seven. Rocker stranded a pair in each of the first two innings but could not overcome mistakes in the third and fourth.
The Bruins (12-1) capitalized on a one-out walk, starting the scoring on a JT Schwartz RBI-double in the third. An inning later, UCLA chased Rocker as the right-hander loaded the bases on a pair of free passes and a hit by pitch before plating two on a sacrifice fly and return throw that trickled into the dugout.
UCLA starter Zach Pettway (3-0) retired 12 consecutive batters to open the game before Vanderbilt (11-4) broke through in the fifth.
Dominic Keegan reached on a first-pitch hot shot to third base and advanced to second as Ty Duvall clocked a single up the middle. Parker Noland trimmed the deficit to one on a two-RBI double into left center.
MID 5 » 🗣 BLACK! GOLD!@parkernoland20 brings in two.
— Vanderbilt Baseball (@VandyBoys) March 7, 2020
Commodore reliever Sam Hliboki was masterful, holding the Bruins hitless in the final five frames. The freshman allowed just two baserunners while striking out three.
Pettaway held Vanderbilt to three hits and two runs (one earned) while striking out four in six innings. Three UCLA relievers kept the Commodores at bay including Holden Powell who worked around two walks and stranded a pair in the ninth to secure his third save.
Vanderbilt returns to action at 4 p.m. CT Saturday at USC from Dedeaux Field. Commodore southpaw Jake Eder (1-0, 3.86 ERA) will face the Trojans’ lefty John Beller (2-0, 1.12 ERA).
The matchup can be seen by visiting pac-12.com and heard on WNSR 560 AM/95.9 FM and the TuneIn app.