NASHVILLE (VUAD)– No. 8 Vanderbilt rallied from an early two-run deficit thanks to a pair of two-run home runs to win the series opener 4-2 over No. 19 LSU at Hawkins Field on Friday night and improve to 4-0 in the Southeastern Conference for the first time since 1972.
The Tigers (15-8, 2-2) took an early lead in the first, getting the rally started when leadoff hitter Zach Watson hit a 0-2 pitch into the gap for a triple. LSU scratched the first run of the night when Antoine Duplantis singled into center field to score Watson. With two down, Commodores’ (15-7, 4-0) starter Drake Fellows lost control, issuing back-to-back walks. Beau Jordan made Fellows pay with a single to left to push the LSU lead to 2-0 after the top of the first.
Vandy did not wait long to answer with Julian Infante answering in a loud way in the second. Connor Kaiser worked the first of his three walks in the game to open the frame and put a runner aboard for Infante with one away. The junior from Miami unloaded on a 1-1 pitch, hitting his first home run of the season out to left field to bring the Dores back to even.
The Commodores took the lead in the third thanks to a one-out, all-freshman rally. Phillip Clarke lined a double into the left field corner and trotted home when Pat DeMarco lifted his second homer of the season over the Monster in left for a 4-2 Vandy lead.
Fellows worked two more scoreless innings before handing the ball off to Zach King. The lefty worked out of a jam in the sixth and used a double play to erase a leadoff single in the eighth to close out the win and earn his second save. Fellows notched his fourth win after working five solid innings, scattering five hits and fanning four.
DeMarco led the way for the Commodores with his team-best 10th two-hit game of the year. With his three walks Friday, Kaiser has now reached base in 25 straight games dating back to last season. The Dores stole six bases in the win with Kaiser and Ethan Paul swiping two each. Vanderbilt’s 4-0 SEC record is the best since 1972 when the squad started the season 6-0 in league play.
LSU starter Zach Hess took the loss, allowing four runs on four hits over 3.1 innings. Duplantis and Austin Bain combined for four of the Tigers’ eight hits.
Vanderbilt and LSU play tomorrow night at 7:30 on ESPNU. Junior Patrick Raby gets the ball for the home team against Tigers’ right-hander Caleb Gilbert. BOXSCORE