HOOVER, Ala. – Top-seed Vanderbilt mashed three home runs and scored in four different innings en route to a 13-4 victory against No. 5-seed LSU at the SEC Tournament on Saturday afternoon at Hoover Met Stadium. The victory vaults Vandy to its 11th finals appearance.
The Commodores (48-10) look for their first SEC Tournament title since 2007 when they face No. 7-seed Ole Miss on Sunday at 2 p.m. on ESPN2. Fans can also listen in on WNSR 560 AM/95.9 FM and VUCommodores.com. Senior right-hander Patrick Raby (9-1, 2.67 ERA) will take the mound.
Designated hitter Ty Duvall (3-for-4) matched a career high with four RBIs and three hits and uncorked a three-run home run to cap a six-run sixth inning. Vanderbilt batted around and registered five hits in the frame including RBI-singles from Stephen Scott and Pat DeMarco.
Vanderbilt put three across in the second as Duvall sent an 0-2 single into left field, scoring DeMarco (single). The throw skipped into the Commodores dugout allowing Scott (walk) to trot home. Harrison Ray followed, sending a first-pitch single into right for a 3-0 advantage.
JJ Bleday (2-for-5) crushed his national-leading 26th home run into the Tigers bullpen an inning later. The long ball was his 20th in the last 35 games and moved the junior into a tie with Boomer Whipple (1994) for the fifth in Vandy single-season runs scored (71). Ray also added a bases-loaded walk.
Ethan Paul (2-for-5) moved into a tie for third in Vanderbilt career doubles, matching Jason Esposito’s (2009-11) mark of 60 with his two-bagger in the third. One inning later, Paul clocked a two-run home run into right center to provide the Dores a 7-0 lead.
Vanderbilt starter Kumar Rocker (8-5) permitted just one run in five innings. The right-hander scattered five hits and struck out two while allowing a walk. The freshman dropped his ERA to 4.14 while picking up his sixth victory in the last seven starts.
LSU (37-24) starter Devin Fontenot (5-2) lasted just two innings, allowing three runs (two earned) on four hits while walking one and striking out two. Vandy did its biggest damage against righty Will Rippoll, tagging the freshman reliever for eight runs on five hits while working three walks in three innings.
The win was Vanderbilt’s 21st in the last 22 games. The squad set a new program record with its 13th victory in May. The last team to win the SEC regular season outright and conference tournament was the 2007 Commodores.