Vanderbilt took control in the 1st inning and never looked back as the Commodores tied a season high of hits with 21 and used only two pitchers on the night to defeat and destroy Alabama, 18-1.
The Commodores put five runs on the board in the 1st inning and immediately you could see who was the superior team and who was locked into the game. Vanderbilt came prepared Thursday night, knowing they had to at least win this weekend's series or better yet, sweep. If last night was any indication, this series could really go favorable for the Dores.
After putting up a five spot in the 1st, Vanderbilt completely broke the game open in the 4th when the Dores tied a season high 8 runs scored in an inning. Vanderbilt sent 8 straight hitters to the plate without registering an out and most of the damage was done by seeing eye singles, walks and sacrifice flies. Will Toffey, Ro Coleman, Jeren Kendall and Julian Infante all had consecutive singles while Toffey himself had two singles in the inning along with driving in a run. The VandyBoys held a 13-0 lead going into the 5th but that wouldn't be the last time the Commodores would cross the plate.
A single run was put on the board in the bottom of the 5th and Vanderbilt would add four more runs to the scoreboard in the bottom of the 7th inning. A positive coming from Vanderbilt's offense on Thursday night was the fact that every single run was generated through other offensive ways rather than coming from the long ball. Vanderbilt has struggled all year hitting the ball with runners in scoring position and when they do score, it usually comes by way of home run.
Seven Commodore hitters had multi hit games with Kendall, Infante and Jason Delay leading the way with three hits a piece. Delay also led the team with 3 RBI's, going 3 for 4 along with his 16th double of the year.
The Vanderbilt pitching wasn't as strong as the Commodores hitting but it was pretty close. Starter Patrick Raby had a solid evening as he went seven plus innings, picking up his ninth win of the season. Raby was pretty shaky with the walks (five) but he never allowed a run to cross the plate and basically did what he had to do throughout as his offense totally had his back. Raby (9-3) did strikeout seven Crimson Tide hitters and went seven innings, giving the bullpen a break and saving them for the rest of the weekend.
Paxton Stover replaced Raby in the 7th and while he did allow a late inning home run, he finished things off as the Commodores took game one from Alabama in this best of three series. Alabama starter Deacon Meadors took the loss after only going three innings, allowing seven earned runs, walking two and striking out none. Vanderbilt was locked in on Meadors (2-1) as he didn't fool anyone and was quickly ran from the game.
It was a great way to start the final regular season SEC series for Vanderbilt but can they remain consistent at the plate, especially in game two where Friday night starter Kyle Wright has received hardly no run support this year from his Commodores offense.
Game two is set for 6:30 pm Central and you can view the game on SEC Network Plus.