No. 4 Vanderbilt's Holton holds Georgia at bay
NASHVILLE, Tenn. - Vanderbilt baseball used a dominant performance from Carter Holton to take Friday's contest against Georgia 9-2 at Hawkins Field.
The Dores claimed the first game in the series behind Holton's seven strong innings on the mound. The sophomore allowed just two runs on three hits and struck out a season-high 10 batters.
RJ Austin and RJ Schreck totaled three RBIs each to provide Holton with more than enough run support. Enrique Bradfield Jr. stole a pair of bases and Parker Noland left the yard for the fourth time in the last five games.
Georgia's Will David opened the scoring with a two-run homer to left with one out in the top of the second.
Austin provided a quick answer in the home half of the frame. After Jack Bulger singled to lead off the inning, Austin launched his fourth home run on the season to even the game at 2-2.
The Dores jumped in front in the bottom of the fifth with a four-run inning. Jonathan Vastine led off with a triple down the line in right. Bradfield and Davis Diaz worked back-to-back walks to load the bases and Schreck cleared them with a three-run double off the wall in right field.
Schreck moved up to third on a bunt-single by Bulger and scored on a sac fly from Austin to put Vanderbilt on top 6-2.
Parker Noland added another run with a leadoff solo shot in the bottom of the sixth, his fourth home run in the last five games. Bradfield reached on a hit-by-pitch with two outs in the frame and stole second with Diaz at the dish. Diaz then singled to right field, scoring Bradfield and making it an 8-2 lead for the Commodores.
Vandy added an insurance run in the bottom of the eighth. Calvin Hewett singled and Bradfield worked a walk to put two on with one out. The pair executed a double steal and Hewett scored on a groundout, putting Vanderbilt on top by seven.
Sam Hliboki came on in relief in the eighth inning and tossed two scoreless frames with three strikeouts.
With Friday's win the Commodores have won nine straight and 15 of their last 16.
Vanderbilt (21-5, 7-0 SEC) and Georgia (15-11, 1-6 SEC) will meet again at 2 p.m. Saturday on SEC Network+ for Game 2 in the series.