NASHVILLE, Tenn. - No. 2 Vanderbilt used the long ball and a consistent offense to down Missouri 11-5 Friday night at Hawkins Field in the first-ever meeting between the two schools.
The Tigers (12-18, 4-9) jumped on Vanderbilt starter Kevin Ziomek for two runs in the first inning to put the Commodores (31-4, 12-1) in an early hole. But the VU offense went straight to work in the bottom half of the inning to claim the lead on a Connor Harrell three-run home run into the left field bleachers. Missouri added two more runs in the second before Kyle Smith tied the game in the bottom of the inning with his second home run of the season, a solo shot over the center field fence on the first pitch of the inning.
Both starting pitchers settled in for the third and fourth innings to carry a tie game into the bottom of the fifth inning when the Dores played long ball once again. Harrell blasted a solo home run off Memorial Gym beyond the left field bleachers to open the inning, his second home run of the night. Mike Yastrzemski and Vince Conde followed with back-to-back doubles to stretch the lead to two runs. Vanderbilt opened it up in the sixth scoring three runs and added two more in the eighth on Conde's two-run double.
The top six players in the VU lineup combined to go 15-for-26 on the night scoring 10 runs and driving in nine of the team's 10 RBI. The team's 17 hits match a season-best with the Dores now having 34 hits in their last two Southeastern Conference games. Vanderbilt now has had at least 10 hits in six of the last seven games. The Commodores three home runs is a season-high and the first time the team has hit three homers in a game since last April at Middle Tennessee State. Harrell's two home run game is the first by a Commodore since Harrell belted two at Stanford in the second game of the season last year. Conrad Gregor, Harrell and Conde all registered three hits in the win with Harrell and Conde each driving in four runs.
Ziomek earned the win with a gutsy six-inning performance. The lefty allowed four runs on six hits with six strikeouts to improve to 7-1 on the year. Ziomek allowed only one hit over his final four frames and sat down the final four he faced. Missouri starter Rob Zastryzny (2-6) took the loss allowing six runs on eight hits with six strikeouts over four-plus innings.
The victory is the 12th straight for the Commodores and extends the team's school record start in conference play to 12-1. Vanderbilt's 31-4 record matches the 2011 team that also started 31-4.
Vanderbilt hosts Missouri tomorrow at 4 p.m. with the game broadcast on ESPNU. Sophomore Tyler Beede (8-0) gets the ball for the Dores with the Tigers yet to name a starter.