STARKVILLE, Miss. -- Fifth-ranked Vanderbilt salvaged Sunday's game at No. 18 Mississippi State with a 5-1 win.
The Commodores (20-5, 3-3) received a big boost from starting pitcher Tyler Ferguson, who turned in six scoreless innings to earn his fourth win. The big right-hander kept the Bulldogs (17-9, 4-2) off balance all day and would not allow them to string base runners together, never allowing consecutive Bulldogs to reach base. The defense picked Ferguson up in the fourth when Xavier Turner snared a line drive that was headed into the left field corner and doubled off the runner at first base to end the inning. The defense again picked up Ferguson in the sixth after a leadoff double. With the runner at third and the infield drawn in in a scoreless game, Zander Wiel made a nice stop on a ground ball and fired home to get the runner. Ferguson then induced a ground ball to end the inning and the threat.
The Vandy offense got things going in the seventh with back-to-back singles from Bryan Reynolds and Wiel to open the frame. After Wiel stole third, Rhett Wiseman placed a perfect safety squeeze bunt down the first baseline to score the first run of the game. The Dores tacked on two more in the eighth when Ro Coleman and Xavier Turner singled and came around to score. Vanderbilt put the game away in the ninth with two more runs on three hits. John Norwood singled and stole second before moving to third on Coleman's second single of the game. Turner drove in the run and reached on error by the third baseman. Coleman capped the rally with heads up base running, scoring from second base on a ball the Mississippi State defense attempted to turn a double play on.
Carson Fulmer entered in the bottom of the seventh after Ferguson issued a leadoff walk. Fulmer left the runner at first base, retiring the first three batters he faced. The only blemish over Fulmer's three innings was a leadoff walk in the eighth that came around to score on a sacrifice fly. The right-hander fanned four to record his team-best seventh save.
Reynolds led the way for the Dores with three hits in the win with Coleman and Turner chipping in two hits apiece. The Bulldogs were held to just two hits in the game with Gavin Collins collecting two of the three.