Vanderbilt Wins Second In A Row Versus MSU

NASHVILLE, Tenn. - Another fast started lifted the Vanderbilt baseball team to a 10-4 Southeastern Conference victory over Mississippi State Saturday afternoon at Hawkins Field.

The Bulldogs were touched for three home runs over the first two innings, as the Commodores clinched the weekend series. VU hit a grand slam and three-run home run in the first two innings of Friday night's 8-6 series-opening win.

Vanderbilt improved to 26-17 overall and 9-10 in league play, while MSU fell to 21-23 and 6-14.

On Saturday, VU's Brian Harris opened the scoring with a leadoff solo home run in the bottom of the first inning. After a walk and flyout, Andrew Giobbi reached on a fielder's choice that was erred. Aaron Westlake followed with a three-run home run to right field.

It was the second straight day that a Westlake home run gave the Commodores a 4-0 lead. Westlake hit a first-inning grand slam Friday night and has now hit three home runs on the season.

For MSU, Ryan Duffy homered (his fifth) in the top of the second inning to break up the VU shutout.

MSU starter Nick Routt was again touched for a long ball in the home half of that inning. After another MSU error and double by Brian Harris, Curt Casali stroked a three-run home run. Casali has now hit a team-best seven home runs for the Commodores.

Thus, MSU trailed 7-1 after two innings for a second straight day. This time, a rally did not materialize. The Bulldogs received an RBI-single from Scott DeLoach in the sixth inning, a solo home run from Grant Hogue (his second) in the seventh inning and a solo home run from Cody Freeman (his fourth) in the ninth inning.

The Commodores put the contest away with two scores in the seventh inning and another run in the eighth inning.

VU starter Drew Hayes (4-2) worked 5-2/3 innings, allowing five hits and two runs (both earned), with five strikeouts and three walks. John Bierman finished the contest for the Commodores, earning his first save.

After his shaky start, Routt (4-3) settled down, throwing four scoreless innings before being touched for the two-spot in the VU seventh inning. Routt threw seven total innings, allowing 10 hits and nine runs (five earned), with seven strikeouts and three walks. Lee Swindle threw the eighth inning.

The Commodores finished with 11 hits. Brian Harris had three hits, while Casali and Riley Reynolds had multiple hits.

The Bulldogs finished with seven hits. Hogue was the lone multiple hitter for MSU. Both Sneed and Hogue extended their hit streaks to seven games. Connor Powers was hitless as his hit streak in conference games ended at 13.

The Bulldogs and Commodores close their s eries with a 1 p.m. start Sunday. MSU is scheduled to start junior left-hander Tyler Whitney (2-3, 4.29 ERA), while the VU starter is undetermined. The Bulldogs return home next weekend for a conference series with Alabama at Dudy Noble Field.

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