Baton Rouge, La. - Vanderbilt dropped a pitcher's duel to LSU 2-1 in the series opener Friday night at Alex Box Stadium.
Commodores' (24-25, 11-14) starter T.J. Pecoraro (0-4) pitched the first complete game of his career with eight stellar innings allowing only two runs on five hits. Unfortunately, LSU (39-11, 17-8) starter Kevin Gausman (8-1) was slightly better turning in his first complete game of the season with nine innings of work. Gausman, a projected top 10 pick in the upcoming major league baseball draft, punched out 11 and scattered five hits to earn the win.
The Tigers scored twice in the second inning to take an early lead using three hits and a sacrifice fly. The leading hitter in the Southeastern Conference Raph Rhymes led off the frame with an infield single and came around to score on Ty Ross' single, the third hit of the inning. Tyler Hanover pushed the second run across on a sacrifice fly, a diving catch by Connor Harrell in left-center field.
The Dores answered back in the top of the third with a run. Vince Conde singled and moved to second after a walk to Tony Kemp. Mike Yastrzemski then delivered with a two-out single to drive in Conde and cut the Tigers' lead to one run. But Gausman settled in after that, allowing only three base runners the rest of the way with none going further than first base.
Pecoraro, who underwent elbow ligament replacement surgery last June, was outstanding for Vandy in the longest outing of his career. After allowing two runs in the second inning, the sophomore allowed only two base runners the rest of the night. Pecoraro retired 13 straight from after a leadoff single in the 3rd and worked five straight 1-2-3 innings from the fourth to ninth inning. Pecoraro's complete game was the first by a Commodore since Sonny Gray's eight-inning complete game effort at Kentucky last May.
Vanderbilt returns to action tomorrow night against LSU with first pitch slated for 1 p.m. on FSN. The Commodores will send southpaw Sam Selman (7-3) to the mound to face Tigers' freshman right-hander Aaron Nola (6-2).