Baseball: Vanderbilt 2, Alabama 1

Hoover, Ala. (VUAD– Carson Fulmer shut down Alabama in a 2-1 win Thursday night at the Hoover Met for his third complete game and second straight.

Fulmer started the night off fast with strikeouts of the first two Crimson Tide (29-25, 11-17) batters but two singles sandwiched around a walk led to an Alabama run. Fulmer struck out Cody Henry to end the inning and begin a streak of 11 straight retired batters. The streak finally came to an end in the fifth when Will Haynie reached on a wild pitch after striking out. Fulmer quickly put the threat to rest with another strikeout and fly out to left. A leadoff walk opened the bottom of the sixth after the Commodores (38-16, 19-9) took the lead in the top of the inning but a strikeout and a double play ended the inning. The junior issued a pair of walks in the seventh and eighth but never allowed a runner past first base before working an efficient 1-2-3 ninth inning to wrap up his second straight complete game and third of the season.

Fulmer finished the night matching his career and season-best with 14 strikeouts in his 11th win of the season. The right-hander did not allow a hit after the first inning, turning in eight hitless innings to finish off the victory. His two-hitter matches his efforts against Ole Miss on April 9. In his 14 starts this season, the junior has struck out at least 11 batters in six starts, including two consecutive. The win is his eighth straight and coupled with a Florida loss Thursday night moves Vanderbilt two games ahead of the Gators with two to play in the Southeastern Conference East race.

Fulmer extends his lead in all three triple crown categories with 132 strikeouts, 11 wins and lowering his ERA to 1.51. The right-hander will become just the fourth pitcher in SEC history to win the pitching triple crown and first since Tennessee’s Luke Hochevar did it in 2005. Fulmer’s 132 strikeouts this season match Sonny Gray’s total from 2011 for the third-most in school history. His 11th win pulls him even with Kevin Ziomek (2013) and David Price (2007) for the sixth-most in a single-season by a Commodore.

The Commodores’ big hit came in the sixth inning with two outs. Ro Coleman worked a walk off Alabama starter Taylor Guilbeau and was followed by another walk to Rhett Wiseman to put Dansby Swanson at the dish. The junior did not disappoint, smashing a two-run double into the left-center field gap to chase home both Coleman and Wiseman for a 2-1 Vandy lead.

Guilbeau took the loss for the Tide allowing two runs on three hits over six-plus innings. Mikey White and Cody Henry were the only two players to pick up hits for Alabama.

Vanderbilt takes on Alabama tomorrow night at 7 p.m. at the Hoover Met on SEC Network+. Lefty Philip Pfeifer gets the ball against the Crimson Tide’s Jake Walters.

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