Nashville, Tenn. -
Vanderbilt junior lefty Sam Selman rode a four-run early cushion to cruise to his fourth straight win, pitching the Commodores to a 5-1 victory over Middle Tennessee.
The Commodores, now 17-20 overall, scored four of their runs in the first inning, chasing Blue Raider starter Cody Tollison without getting an out.
It marked Vanderbilt's fourth straight win in non-Southeastern Conference play, and was the Commodores' fourth victory in its last five games overall.
Middle Tennessee State falls to 21-16 with the loss.
Selman has been remarkable for the Commodores since becoming a weekday starter nearly a month ago. In the role, the left-hander is 4-0 and sports an impressive 0.42 ERA over 21.2 innings.
Selman also set a new career high with nine strikeouts, matching the Commodores' team high set early in the year by sophomore Kevin Ziomek. Selman scattered seven hits over 5.2 innings allowing one run.
Freshman Brian Miller performed well in relief of Selman. Miller posted four strikeouts and allowed just one hit in 3.1 innings to earn his fourth save.
The Commodores jumped on Middle Tennessee State early. With Tollison struggling with control, the first six Commodore batters reached base. Junior Mike Yastrzemski gave Vanderbilt its first runs, scoring Tony Kemp and Anthony Gomez with a bases-loaded single to right field. The Commodores added a another run when Chris Harvey's bloop single to right plated Conrad Gregor. Vanderbilt scored a fourth run in the first inning when Yastrzemski scored on a double play.
The Commodores posted an insurance run in the eighth inning when Gregor's sacrifice fly scored sophomore shortstop Joel McKeithan.
The Commodores, 6-9 in Southeastern Conference play, return to SEC action this Friday in Tuscaloosa, Ala., with a three-game series against Alabama.
After playing one of the nation's toughest early-season schedules, Vanderbilt has moved to within three games of .500 with the win over MTSU. It is the closest to .500 the Commodores have been since the fifth game of the year.