Vanderbilt junior Aaron Westlake (2-for-5, five RBI) blasted a grand slam as part of a six-run fifth inning and the No. 2 Commodores (42-7, 20-6 SEC) banged out 18 hits to even its weekend series with No. 5 Florida (38-13, 19-7 SEC), 14-1, on Saturday’s second game of a doubleheader at Hawkins Field.
Junior left-hander Grayson Garvin (11-1) improved to 9-0 in league play by allowing one run on six hits, with six strikeouts over seven innings, and moved the Commodores back into first place in the SEC.
The teams will play the rubber game of the series tomorrow at 2 p.m.
Senior Bryson Smith led off the third inning with his second homer of the season for a 1-0 lead for the visitors. The round-tripper landed in the right-field bleachers, came on a 0-2 count and was an opposite-field shot.
But the Gators could not generate any more runs after that.
Vanderbilt erupted for six runs on seven hits in the fifth, highlighted by a grand slam from Westlake, to expand its lead to 8-1.
After scoring two more in the sixth inning VU added four runs on four hits in the seventh for a 14-1 cushion.
In the first game of the doubnleheader, Florida won 6-5 as Smith and senior Josh Adams had the two hits to put the Gators over the edge against Vanderbilt. Adams’ game-tying homer to lead off the ninth inning and Smith’s RBI-double gave the Gators the advantage.
Freshman righty Karsten Whitson (6-0, 2.26) will start Sunday’s finale for the Gators against senior right-hander Taylor Hill (4-0, 3.17).