Baseball: Vanderbilt 14, Cal State Fullerton 9

JJ Bleday
JJ Bleday

TALKING STICK, Ariz. (VUAD)– Top-ranked Vanderbilt continued its early season offensive showcase, lighting up the scoreboard in each of the first three innings in route to a 14-9 victory against No. 25 Cal State Fullerton on Saturday afternoon at the MLB4 Collegiate Baseball Tournament.

For a second consecutive day, Vanderbilt (2-0) did not wait to break things open. The Commodores produced five runs during a 38-minute first inning, highlighted by a Philip Clarke grand slam. The sophomore ripped a 1-2 curveball over the right field wall for his seventh career home run.

Making his collegiate debut, pinch-hitter Justyn-Henry Malloy needed just one pitch to get a pair of firsts out of the way. The freshman lined a single up the middle to make it 5-0, scoring Ethan Paul who extended the inning with a two-out double into left center.

An inning later, right fielder JJ Bleday greeted Cal State Fullerton (1-1) reliever Evan Larsen, crushing his first pitch into right center for a leadoff homer and 6-0 advantage. The backing was enough for Vanderbilt starter Patrick Raby (1-0) who held the Titans to four hits and one run across 5.2 innings.

After two quick outs in the third, Cooper Davis and Austin Martin reached on consecutive walks, setting the table for RBI-singles from Bleday and Stephen Scott. Martin added another run, using aggressive base running to score from third on a wild pitch.

Scott continued his big day in the fifth, belting a two-out, two-run double off the right field wall to score Gonzalez (single) and Martin (hit by pitch). One batter later, Clarke lifted a single into center for a 12-0 Commodore advantage.

Cal State Fullerton showed some life in the seventh as Vanderbilt reliever AJ Franklin walked the bases and allowed a grand slam to Jason Brandow. Another solo homer cut the Titans’ deficit to 12-7 but Vanderbilt answered in the eighth, scoring twice on a failed pickoff attempt after loading the bases.

Six Commodores registered a multi-hit game including Clarke (2-for-3) who totaled five RBIs and has eight through his first two games. Scott (2-for-3) finished with three RBIs and two runs while Martin (2-for-3) added four runs and drew a pair of walks and Bleday (2-for-6) scored twice and drove in two.

The Commodores conclude their opening weekend on Sunday with a 12 p.m. CT matchup against No. 19 TCU. Fans can listen to the game via the VUCommodores app and locally on WNSR 560 AM/95.9 FM with Max Herz on the call. Pregame coverage begins 15 minutes prior to first pitch.

BOXSCORE: Game 2 – Vanderbilt 14, CSF 9

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