KNOXVILLE, Tenn. – The Vanderbilt baseball team claimed a 5-0 victory on Friday evening at Lindsey Nelson Stadium behind 7.0 shutout innings from junior right-handed pitcher Kumar Rocker. With the win, the Commodores improve to 27-5 on the season, including a 10-3 mark in Southeastern Conference play.
Rocker set the tone for the Commodores with a commanding start, while Vanderbilt used timely offense to create separation from the Volunteers. The Athens, Georgia native allowed just two hits and one walk across his seven scoreless frames to pick up his eighth win of the season and improve to 8-1.
Sophomore Nick Maldonado covered the final two innings for Vanderbilt, holding Tennessee hitless across his outing to help the Commodores earn their fourth shutout of the season and 16th consecutive SEC road win.
Vanderbilt struck first in Friday’s matchup, using a two-out rally to plate one in the second and grab an early 1-0 lead. Parker Noland began the scoring sequence, lining a double to the opposite field. Thomas followed things with a hard-hit ball to the Tennessee shortstop that kicked off his glove, allowing Noland to come across for the game’s first run.
The Commodores added one more in the third to double their lead to 2-0 lead. Jayson Gonzalez led off the frame with a solo shot to right field, marking his fifth home run of the season.
The two teams went scoreless across the next two frames, before Vandy struck for another in the sixth to make it a 3-0 contest. With one down, Carter Young belted his team-leading eighth homer of the season, with a solo shot to right center.
Vanderbilt added cushion with a two-run inning in the eighth. Enrique Bradfield Jr. began the frame, reaching on an infield single before advancing to second on an errant pickoff move. Bradfield swiped third on batter later, before coming across to score on a throwing error by the Tennessee catcher.
Dominic Keegan continued things with a one-out single, while Jack Bulger followed with a walk to place runners on first and second. One batter later, CJ Rodriguez brought home the second run of the frame with a RBI single to set the score at 5-0, the eventual final.
The two teams will return to the diamond tomorrow afternoon for the second game of the weekend. First pitch is set for 3 p.m. CT, airing live on SEC Network.