Commodores Extinguish Flames Behind Hickman's Twelve Strikeouts

Greg Arias

It was a dominating performance for Mason Hickman as the Vanderbilt senior right-hander struck out 12 Illinois-Chicago hitters in six innings of work while the Commodores offense pounded out 14 hits in a 9-0 win to open the three-game weekend series. 

Hickman tied his career in strikeouts set last season versus Belmont and recorded his 200th career punchout in the first inning when he caught Flames DH Nick Lopez looking for the second strikeout of the inning.  

From there Hickman cruised throwing just 97 pitches through seven innings, 66 for strikes as he allowed three hits and one walk to the 25 batters he faced in the game. 

Chris McElvain and Erik Kaiser combined to pitch the final two innings in relief as each tossed a scoreless inning. 

Offensively it was a parade of players contributing led by two freshmen as catcher CJ Rodriguez, and shortstop Carter Young each delivered two RBI in the game. 

For Rodriguez, he delivered the first run of the afternoon for the Commodores with an RBI groundout to the pitcher after a leadoff triple from Cooper Davis.   

Young plated a single run in both the 4th and 6th inning, with his first coming on a double and the second a single. He would finish the 

Austin Martin, Parker Noland, Justyn-Henry Malloy, and Isaiah Thomas added an RBI apiece as the Commodores posted a season-high 14 hits in the game.  

It was also the third consecutive game for the Commodores without committing an error and the third shutout in a row, something that has not been done by a Vanderbilt team since March 15-19, 2011 when that team shutout Purdue and Mississippi State back-to-back games. 

UIC threatened to score just once when against Hickman in the third inning the Flames got back-to-back singles from Ryan Lin-Peistup and Brett Tressen putting runners at first and second to lead off the inning. Hickman retired the next three hitters in order to end the threat. 

Vanderbilt, now 4-2 on the season return to action on Saturday afternoon, hosting UIC once again in the second game of the three-game set at Hawkins Field. 

Kumar Rocker is scheduled to start for Vanderbilt with the first pitch set for 2 pm. CST.