NASHVILLE, Tenn. — Visiting Georgia stunned Kumar Rocker and top-ranked Vanderbilt on Thursday, winning 14-2 at Hawkins Field.
The Bulldogs (19-10, 4-6 SEC) touched up Rocker for six earned runs and launched three homers. They added eight insurance runs – and finished the affair with seven home runs – to take the series opener.
Vandy (24-4, 8-2 SEC), which left 15 men on base, had a nine-game winning streak snapped. The two squads are scheduled to meet again at 6:30 p.m. Friday.
On Thursday, Ben Anderson greeted Rocker (7-1) with a lead-off single through the hole to left. Cole Tate then drew a walk before Corey Collins unloaded a three-run homer right making it 3-0.
It was a sign of things to come.
Rocker would throw 24 pitches in the top of the first before getting the game’s first out on the 25th.
“I think the first inning they landed a couple punches,” Vanderbilt head coach Tim Corbin said. “(Rocker) did a nice job of settling down, but they ambushed him. They took good swings at the fastball and their bats were quick, there’s no doubt about that.”
With two outs in the bottom half of the inning Dominic Keegan coaxed a free pass ahead of Jack Bulger who laced an RBI double into left cutting the score to 3-1. That would be as close as the Commodores would get.
Connor Tate got that run back in the sixth with a solo blast on a liner to left making it 4-1. Garrett Blaylock then tattooed a two-run shot putting the Bulldogs ahead 6-1 and chasing Rocker from the game.
The junior righty went 5+ innings and allowed six earned runs – all on homers – on seven hits. He struck out 12 and threw 100 pitches, 66 for strikes.
Vandy reliever Hugh Fisher loaded the bases with two walks and a hit batter in the seventh. A slow roller to short was missed by Carter Young allowing two more runs to score making it 8-1.
A Fisher wild pitch allowed another run to cross before the inning came to a close.
Maxwell Romero scored on a balk in the eighth to give the Dores their second run. But Connor Tate, Riley King and Blaylock went back-to-back-to-back in the ninth before Anderson hit a two-run shot later in the inning to provide the final margin.
Georgia reliever Will Pearson (2-0) picked up the win.
“We didn’t respond very well offensively,” Corbin said. “We left a lot of people on base. They swung the bat well, we swung it (poorly). The score of indicative of what the two teams looked like. There’s not much else you can say about it.”
— Chad Bishop covers Vanderbilt for VUCommodores.com.
Follow him @MrChadBishop.