NASHVILLE, Tenn. – Austin Martin reached base four times and matched a career high with three RBIs as No. 5 Vanderbilt powered through steady rain to defeat No. 25 Auburn, 12-6, in the series opener on Thursday night at Hawkins Field.
The Commodores (32-9, 13-6 SEC) scored 10-plus runs for the 17th time and moved to 17-0 in night games and 11-0 in series openers. The Tigers (27-15, 10-9 SEC) were plagued by two errors and received just 2.1 innings from starter Tanner Burns (4-3), who left with an injury.
Vanderbilt starter Drake Fellows (9-0) recorded his national-best ninth victory. The right-hander did not allow a hit before surrendering five as part of a four-run fifth. Fellows struck out four and permitted one walk and four runs in five innings.
Stephen Scott led off Vanderbilt’s three-run second inning, depositing his 22nd career home run into right center. Pat DeMarco reached on a high-fly infield double and came home to score two batters later on a wild pitch. Martin drove in Ty Duvall (walk) on a sacrifice fly.
The Commodores took advantage of a pair of Auburn errors and fought through a 47-minute rain delay in the third. Julian Infante drove in two on an RBI-single before Martin looped an RBI-single into right field. Infante plated his 150th career run, taking home on an errant throw into center.
Auburn struck for four runs in the fifth and cut its deficit to a pair on a two-out solo home run from Will Holland an inning later but Vanderbilt immediately answered. The Dores scored four times in the home half with Martin, Ethan Paul and DeMarco driving in runs.
Mason Hickman was effective in his first weekend appearance since March 1. The right-hander secured his third save, tossing the final four innings. The sophomore allowed four hits and two runs while striking out six and walking two.
Vanderbilt looks for its fifth series win in six opportunities on Friday with the middle game set for 7 p.m. on the SEC Network. The Commodores will send right-hander Kumar Rocker (4-4, 4.61 ERA) to the mound against righty Richard Fitts (3-2, 4.55 ERA).