Dogs Fall In Series Finale At Vanderbilt

NASHVILLE, Tenn. - A five-run second inning proved decisive as the Vanderbilt Commodores beat the Mississippi State Bulldogs 11-3 in a Southeastern Conference baseball game Sunday afternoon at VU's Hawkins Field.

The Commodores complete the weekend series sweep. With the victories, VU improved to 27-17 overall and 10-10 in league play. Meanwhile, MSU dropped to 21-24 and 6-15.

Vanderbilt entered the weekend series with a league-lowest 26 home runs on the season. The Commodores hit nine home runs in the series, including four critical long balls in Sunday's victory.

For only the second time in the l2 games, MSU scored in the first inning. In that inning, Ryan Collins had a one-out single and Cody Freeman drew a walk. Ryan Duffy followed with an RBI-single.

In the bottom of the inning, the Commodores tied the contest when Curt Casili hit his eighth home run of the season.

The second inning may have told the tale in Sunday's game. The Bulldogs loaded the bases with no outs and did not score. The Commodores loaded the bases with no outs and eventually scored five times.

Aaron Westlake singled and later scored on a sacrifice fly by Jason Esposito in the VU second inning. On the sac fly, the Bulldogs tried to r etire the back runner but threw the ball away, allowing another run to score.

Also in the inning, Brian Harris hit his sixth home run of the season - a two-run shot. Steven Liddle followed with a double and Casali an RBI-single for the Commodores.

VU stretched the lead to 7-1 with a single score in the fourth inning. The Bulldogs answered that run with Ryan Duffy's second home run of the weekend in the fifth inning.

In the seventh inning, MSU again loaded the bases with no outs. Two strikeouts and a flyout worked the Commodores out of that threat.

MSU's final threat was in the eighth inning. Luke Adkins tripled to lead off the inning. Grant Hogue ran his hit streak to eight games with a two-out RBI-single, plating Adkins. Also in the inning, Hogue stole his 28th base, moving him into second place on MSU's all-time single-season list.

The Commodores closed the scoring with four runs in the eighth inning. Esposito and Liddle each hit a two-run home run in the eighth inning.

MSU finished with 10 hits. Ryan Collins, Duffy and Adkins each had multiple hits.

VU finished with 14 hits. Harris had four hits, while Casali and Liddle each had three hits. MSU starter Tyler Whitney (2-4) was lifted after 1-2/3 innings and took the loss. Whitney allowed eight hits and six runs (all earned),=2 0with one walk and no strikeouts. Paxton Pace worked 1-1/3 innings, leaving with two runners on and no outs in the fourth inning. Jared Weson worked a career-best 4-2/3 innings, allowing six hits and only the two eighth-inning home runs. Devin Jones got the final out.

For VU, Nick Christiani (4-3) earned the win, in relief of starter Caleb Cotham. Christiani worked 3-1/3 innings, allowing three hits and one run (earned), with one strikeout and no walks. Sonny Gray earned his fifth save.

MSU plays no midweek games this week due to final examinations. The Bulldogs return to action Friday night when they open a three-game conference series with Western Division rival Alabama at Dudy Noble Field. MSU and UA are scheduled to play at 6:30 p.m. Friday, 6:30 p.m. Saturday and 1:30 p.m. Sunday.

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