NASHVILLE, Tenn. – Junior Kumar Rocker went the distance on Friday evening, as the second-ranked Vanderbilt baseball team downed No. 4 Mississippi State, 6-2, at Hawkins Field. With the win, the Commodores eclipse the 30-win mark and improve to 30-6 on the season, including an 12-4 mark in Southeastern Conference play.
Rocker notched the second complete game of his career—first since 2019—to pick up his nation-leading ninth win of the season and improve to 9-1 on the campaign. The right-hander allowed two runs (one earned), while limiting the Bulldog hitters to just three hits on the evening.
After allowing a run in the very first frame, Rocker went on to retire the side in five of his next eight innings of work, while finishing the evening with eight strikeouts. He has allowed just one earned run across his last 16.0 innings of work.
Mississippi State jumped out to an early lead with one run in the first. The Bulldogs used a leadoff double followed by a fly ball to center field to place a runner on third with one down. An RBI groundout to the shortstop brought across the game’s first run to put the Bulldogs in front, 1-0, after a half inning.
The two teams went scoreless across the next two frames before Vanderbilt scored four in the fourth to take the lead. Vandy brought nine hitters to the plate in the inning, as Dominic Keegan and Jack Bulger began the frame by drawing back-to-back walks. After the two advanced to second and third on a groundout in the next at-bat, CJ Rodriguez delivered an RBI single to left field to knot things at one apiece.
Isaiah Thomas kept things going with a two-run single up the middle to move the Commodores ahead, before Enrique Bradfield Jr. capped the inning’s scoring with an RBI single to right field to make it a 4-1 contest after four full.
Vanderbilt added late insurance with a pair of runs in the eighth. Rodriguez drew a four-pitch walk before Parker Noland lined a single to right to place runners on first and second. The Bulldogs made a call to the bullpen before the next at-bat, as Thomas greeted the new pitcher with a sacrifice bunt to move runners to second and third.
Cooper Davis followed up with a single up the middle to score two and increase the Commodores’ lead to 6-1, heading to the ninth.
Mississippi State scored one in the ninth, capitalizing on a Vanderbilt fielding error, to set the score at 6-2, the eventual final.
Rodriguez led the Commodore offense, finishing a perfect 3-for-3 with one RBI, one walk and two runs scored. Noland also contributed a multi-hit outing with a pair of hits and one run scored.
The two teams will return to the diamond tomorrow evening for the second matchup of the series. First pitch is scheduled for 7 p.m. from Hawkins Field, with action airing live on ESPNU.