Vanderbilt batters LSU with 12 hits
Six different Commodores drive in at least one run
NASHVILLE, Tenn. -- No. 4 Vanderbilt scored five runs in the first inning and never trailed en route to an 11-3 series-opening win against Friday night at a sold out Hawkins Field.
LSU took a 1-0 lead in the top of the first against Commodores' starter Sonny Gray as rightfielder Raph Rhymes lifted a sacrifice fly to score third baseman Tyler Hanover.
Vanderbilt responded by sending 11 men to the plate, scoring five runs on five singles, two walks and a hit batter. Consecutive RBI singles by Mike Yastrzemski, catcher Curt Casali, designated hitter Conrad Gregor and second baseman Riley Reynolds highlighted the inning. The Commodores broke the game open in the fourth by tacking on three more runs with Yastrzemski's two-run double and Casali's RBI single. LSU leftfielder Spencer Ware lined a two-run single off of Gray in the sixth to narrow the gap to 8-3, but Jason Esposito's two-run triple in the seventh capped the night's scoring.
Vanderbilt pounded out 12 hits as seven different Commodores had at least one hit and six had at least one RBI. Casali led all players with three hits and two RBIs and Yastrzemski went 2-for-5 with three RBIs and two runs in the win.
Sonny Gray earned his eighth win of the year, giving up three runs on five hits with seven strikeouts over seven innings. T.J. Pecoraro finished the game for Vandy by striking out four in the final two innings. LSU starter Kurt McCune (5-3) took the loss after allowing eight runs on eight hits in 3.2 innings of work with three walks and no strikeouts.
Vanderbilt improved to 33-5 overall, 12-4 in the SEC while LSU dropped to 24-15 overall and 4-12 in conference play.
“Sonny Gray is one of the top pitchers in the country, and he demonstrated that tonight,” said LSU coach Paul Mainieri. “He’s a legitimate first-round draft choice, and he’s a great competitor. We still have a lot of baseball to play this weekend, so our guys are going to move forward and look ahead to tomorrow. I thought we battled hard tonight, but Gray was very tough on our hitters.”