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BASEBALL: VANDERBILT 6, MISSOURI 2

Vanderbilt baseball players

COLUMBIA, Mo. (VUAD)– Vanderbilt Commodores found their groove offensively, pounding out a dozen hits while scoring in four-straight innings, to salvage the series finale and down Missouri, 6-2 on Saturday afternoon at Taylor Stadium.

After being held to a combined 13 hits and two runs through the first two games of the set, the No. 10 Commodores (24-16, 10-8 SEC) put single runs across in the fourth and fifth innings before breaking things open with three in the sixth.

Freshman Austin Martin extended his hit streak to 13 games, finishing 3-for-5, while scoring the game’s first run on a two-out RBI-single from Philip Clarke in the fourth before fighting off a 1-2 pitch with two down an inning later for a run-scoring infield single.

Second-baseman Ethan Paul provided the major damage in the sixth, driving a one-out triple into the right-field corner. The three-bagger was his first of the season and brought home Pat DeMarco (leadoff single) and Connor Kaiser (one-out single).

One batter later, Harrison Ray stretched the advantage to 5-0, lifting a sacrifice fly into right field to plate Paul. Vandy continued to provide a cushion for starter Mason Hickman as Clarke sent a two-out RBI-single into center field in the seventh.

Hickman (7-1) held the Tigers (27-13, 8-10 SEC) in check while matching a season-high seven innings of work in the victory. The only blemish was a two-out, two-run double from Matt Beler in the seventh which cut Vandy’s lead to four.

The right-hander scattered four hits and struck out four while permitting two runs (none earned) without a walk. In three games at Mizzou, Commodore starters held the Tigers to one earned run in 21 innings.

Missouri starter Michael Plassmeyer (4-2) retired the side the first time through the order before permitting eight hits the remainder of the way. The southpaw drew the loss, permitting five runs and a walk alongside seven strikeouts.

Vandy’s four-through-six batters (Clarke, Kaiser and Paul) finished 6-for-13 with four RBIs and three runs. Paul led the charge among the group, going 3-for-4 with two runs and as many RBIs.

Martin’s hit streak is the longest for a Vanderbilt player since Ro Coleman’s stretch of as many in 2015 and the longest for a Commodore freshman since Xavier Turner (15) in 2013.

After playing five games in the last seven days, the Commodores will be away from action during the midweek before hosting South Carolina for three games beginning Friday at Hawkins Field. First pitch of the opener is set for 6:30 p.m.

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