Baseball: Vanderbilt 7, Alabama 4

Drake Fellows

TUSCALOOSA, Ala. (VUAD)– No. 6 Vanderbilt scored five times across the middle innings and received a steady start from Drake Fellows, taking the series opener, 7-4 against Alabama on Friday night at Sewell-Thomas Stadium.

Fellows (8-0) struck out seven and recorded his SEC-leading eighth win, scattering six hits while allowing four runs in seven innings. The right-hander, who held Alabama (24-15, 4-12 SEC) to 3-for-13 with runners on, has tossed six-plus innings in eight of his last nine starts.

The win moved Vanderbilt (29-9, 10-6 SEC) to 10-0 in series openers including 5-0 in SEC play. The Commodores’ top-four in the batting order finished 9-for-19 with six RBIs while four different batters logged multiple hits including Ethan Paul and Philip Clarke with three apiece.

JJ Bleday moved into a tie for 10th in program history, belting his 17th home run of the season and 10th in the last 15 games. The right fielder, who is on the Golden Spikes midseason watch list, entered the day third in the country for homers and is now two off the national lead.

The Commodores scored three times and regained the lead in the fifth. Ty Duvall notched the first of four hits in the frame, scoring two batters later on an Austin Martin single. Paul added a two-out RBI-double and Clarke registered his 46th RBI of the season with a single into right.

Paul added insurance in the ninth, lifting his 24th career home run into the left-field bullpen for a 7-4 advantage. The senior, who was batting in the three-spot for the third time this season, finished 3-for-5 with a pair of RBIs while registering his 17th multi-hit performance.

Relievers Hugh Fisher and Tyler Brown did not allow a hit, tossing two scoreless frames while fanning a combined five. Brown locked up his eighth save while striking out two.

Alabama starter Sam Finnerty (5-5) allowed nine hits and six runs while striking out four and walking two. The Crimson Tide’s top-three batters hitters accounted for four of the squad’s six hits.

The teams return to action on Saturday with first pitch set for 8 p.m. Vanderbilt will send right-hander Kumar Rocker (3-4, 4.75 ERA) to the mound. The contest can be seen on the SEC Network and heard on WNSR 560 AM/95.9 FM and VUCommodores.com.

Boxscore – Vanderbilt 7, Alabama 4

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