Vandy Boys Bounce back with 6-1 win over UConn on day two of MLB4

Greg Arias

Kumar Rocker picked up where he left off last season, as the sophomore dominated UCOn for 6.0 innings, allowing two hits, one run while striking out nine Huskies hitters en route to a 6-1 Vanderbilt win, their first of the season after dropping the opener Friday night to Michigan. 

Freshman catcher CJ Rodriguez powered the Commodores offense in just his second career start as he finished the night 4-4 at the plate, with two doubles and three RBI while producing his second consecutive solid defensive outing behind the plate.  

Fellow freshman Sam Hliboki pitched three innings in relief of Rocker and was almost perfect in his first college appearance, allowing no runs, one hit while striking out three of the eleven batters he faced and did not allow a walk while throwing just 36 pitches, 25 for strikes.  

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Commodores freshman Sam Hliboki delivers a pitch versus UConn in the first game of his college career. Photo Courtesy: Vanderbilt Baseball

UConn got on the board first, scoring their only run of the game on a bases-loaded walk to Conor Moriarity in the bottom of the second. It would be one of three walks allowed on the night by Rocker that gave the Huskies their only run of the game. 

While Rocker was in control from that point forward, UConn starting pitcher Colby Dunlap dominated the Commodores lineup through four innings before Vanderbilt would finally breakthrough. 

The Commodores got their first run of the night when Rodriguez delivered a sacrifice fly to right field, scoring Cooper Davis from third to tie the game at 1-1 in the top of the fifth inning. 

The sixth inning belonged to Vanderbilt as the Commodores would blow the game open, scoring four runs as freshman shortstop Carter Young's sac bunt scored Spencer Jones from third to give the Commodores their first lead of the night.  

Rodriguez then singled to left, scoring Parker Noland and Young to extend the Vanderbilt advantage to 4-1. Tate Kolwyck then drew a bases-loaded walk, driving home Davis with the final run of the inning. 

The Commodores would add another in the top of the ninth on a sac fly to right by  Noland, scoring Jones from third. 

For Rocker, it was his first win of the season and the first save of his career for Hliboki. Erik Stock took the loss for UConn, his first of the season.    

The Commodores return to action on Sunday afternoon at 1 pm when the face Cal-Poly in the final game of the MLB4 Collegiate Baseball Tournament before returning home to face South Alabama in their home opener on Tuesday at Hawkins Field. 

First pitch on Tuesday is set for 4:30 pm.   

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