NASHVILLE, Tenn. - Vanderbilt improved to 4-1 behind a solid offensive performance in a 10-2 victory over Central Arkansas Wednesday afternoon at Hawkins Field.
After taking the lead in the fourth inning the No. 2 Commodores blew the game open with a four-run fifth inning. Jack Lupo led off the inning with a single through the left side. Back-to-back bunt singles from Dansby Swanson and Tony Kemp loaded the bases for Xavier Turner. The freshman delivered, bouncing a double down the left field line to score two runs. The Dores added two more runs on a double from Connor Harrell in the seventh, giving the senior a team-best 11 RBI in the team's first five games.
Eight Commodores contributed at least one hit in the victory marking the fourth time in five games the VU lineup has had at least seven different players with one hit this season. The Dores have been converting those hits into runs scoring 50 runs in the team's first five games of the year. The 2012 squad did not score its 50th run until the 11th game last season.
Steven Rice (1-0) earned his second career victory with three perfect innings out of the bullpen. The lefty allowed only a single to lead off his third inning but induced a double play to end the frame and face the minimum nine batters. Freshman Walker Buehler made his collegiate debut starting and turning in four innings. The right-hander allowed one run on two hits with eight walks and six strikeouts. Clint Green (0-1) took the loss for the Bears (3-1) giving up five runs on five hits over four-plus innings.
Conrad Gregor paced the Commodores going 2-for-3 with two RBI and two runs scored. The junior picked up his first extra-base hit of the year with a double in the fourth and stole two bases in the seventh to push him into the team lead with five. Gregor was a perfect 10-for-10 in steals last season. Turner continued his hot pace driving in two more runs while going 1-for-4. Harrell matched a career-best with three walks and now has four extra-base hits. Forrestt Allday led the Bears with two of the team's four hits.
Vanderbilt returns to action Friday afternoon at Hawkins Field when Monmouth comes to town for a three-game series. The Commodores and Hawks play Saturday afternoon at 2 p.m. and wrap up the series at 12 p.m. on Sunday.