TUSCALOOSA, Ala. (VUAD)– Vanderbilt’s JJ Bleday and Patrick Raby moved closer to program milestones as the duo lifted the No. 6 Commodores to their fourth-straight win and first series sweep at Alabama since 1906 with a 2-0 victory on Sunday afternoon at Sewell-Thomas Stadium.
The win moved Vanderbilt to 31-9 overall and 12-6 in the SEC. Alabama fell to 24-17 and 4-14 in the league. The victory capped the Commodores first three-game SEC road sweep since March 16-18, 2018, at Mississippi State.
Bleday (1-for-4) swatted his fourth home run of the series, matching Tulane’s Kody Hoese for the national lead with 20. The right fielder joined Pedro Alvarez (22; 2006) and Dominic de la Osa (20; 2007) as the only players in program history to reach 20 in a single-season.
The junior, who has collected 13 home runs in his last 17 games, is looking to become the first Commodore since Scotti Madison (1979) to lead the SEC in home runs. Bleday started the scoring with a solo shot on an 0-2 pitch in the third inning.
Raby (6-1) allowed just two hits across six-plus scoreless innings. The right-hander did not allow a base knock (0-for-6) with runners aboard while striking out seven and permitting four walks. The Knoxville native moved into sole possession of second place in team history with his 28th career victory and is now one shy of matching Jeff Peeples’ (1970-73) program-best 29.
The Crimson Tide threatened in the seventh, chasing Raby from the contest on a leadoff walk. Hugh Fisher plunked Kolby Robinson with his first pitch but the southpaw buckled down, striking out John Trousdale before inducing a lineout to center by leadoff batter Keith Holcombe.
Tyler Brown notched his ninth save, permitting just one hit in two scoreless frames. Vanderbilt limited Alabama to just three hits while the Commodores two-out production continued, batting .467 (7-for-15) in the category.
Philip Clarke continued his red-hot series, lining a two-out RBI-single into right field in the third, stretching the lead to 2-0. The designated hitter finished the series 7-for-13 and was one of two Commodores – alongside Stephen Scott – to produce multiple hits in the finale.
The Commodores will be off during the midweek for the first time this season. The club returns to action on Thursday, opening a three-game series against Auburn. First pitch is scheduled for 6:30 p.m. Friday’s middle game begins at 7 p.m. and Saturday’s finale starts at 1 p.m.
Have a weekend, @BledayJay. 🚀
— Vanderbilt Baseball (@VandyBoys) April 21, 2019