Nashville, (VUAD) Tenn. – Vanderbilt scored five runs in the first inning and matched a season-high 21 hits in cruising to an 18-1 win over Alabama in the series opener at Hawkins Field on Thursday night.
A Ro Coleman single jump-started the rally in the first and set off a string of seven consecutive Commodores (32-21, 14-13) to reach base. Jeren Kendall and Julian Infante each followed Coleman with singles of their own with Infante’s scoring the first run of the game. Ethan Paul wore a pitch off the foot with the bases loaded before a two-run double from Jason Delay pushed the lead to four runs. Harrison Ray put a bow on the rally with a single to score Paul and make it a five-run first inning.
The Vandy offense exploded again in the fourth sending 12 men to the plate to score a season-high eight runs on seven hits. Eight straight Dores reached base safely without an out to top the first inning streak with Connor Kaiser’s sacrifice fly scoring a run with the first out of the inning. Four straight Commodores singled to start the inning with Will Toffey, Coleman, Kendall and Infante all picking up hits before Reed Hayes drew a bases loaded walk to force in a run. Toffey’s second single of the frame capped the rally.
Vanderbilt starter Patrick Raby was nearly as dominant as his offense on Thursday night in picking up his team-best ninth win of the season. The right-hander tossed seven scoreless innings, scattering two hits and punching out five while walking a career-high five. The sophomore was effectively wild much of the night, allowing only one Crimson Tide (19-33, 5-23) base runner to reach scoring position on back-to-back walks in the first inning. Raby navigated base runners all night, pitching with runners on in six of his seven innings but never allowing Alabama to build an inning.
Delay paced the Commodores’ offensive attack with three hits and four RBIs as the senior begins his final weekend series at Hawkins Field. Kendall and Infante each chipped in three hits as part of an 11-man contingent to record hits in the win.
Chandler Avant scored Bama’s lone run with a solo homer in the eighth inning as one of the team’s three hits. Starter Deacon Medders took the loss after giving up seven runs on eight hits over three-plus innings.
Vanderbilt hands the ball to Kyle Wright tomorrow night at 6:30 p.m. on SEC Network+. Alabama will send Jake Walters to the bump.