Kumar Rocker followed up his no-hitter in the super regionals with another strong start in his College World Series debut, and Stephen Scott homered twice and drove in four runs in Vanderbilt’s 6-3 victory over Mississippi State on Wednesday.
No. 2 national seed Commodores (56-11) gained the inside track to the best-of-three finals next week. They need a victory Friday or Saturday to advance.
Rocker, the 6-foot-4, 255-pound freshman star who struck out 19 in his no-hitter against Duke on June 8, held the No. 6 Bulldogs (52-14) scoreless until Rowdey Jordan’s two-out RBI single in the sixth inning. That ended Rocker’s 19 2/3-inning shutout streak.
Rocker (11-5) limited the Bulldogs to five hits, walked one, hit a batter and struck out six before Patrick Raby took over to start the seventh. Rocker won his fifth straight start and is 9-1 over his last 10.
Scott hit a solo homer in the second inning and a three-run shot in the fifth to break open the meeting of SEC rivals.
The Bulldogs, who came from three runs down in the ninth inning to beat Auburn 5-4 on Sunday and have a nation-leading 28 come-from-behind wins, got their offense going once Rocker left.
Marshall Gilbert homered leading off the seventh against Raby and Jake Mangum doubled and scored when Tanner Allen doubled past diving center fielder Pat DeMarco to make it 6-3.
Tyler Brown entered with two outs and runners on the corners and struck out Dustin Skelton. He limited the Bulldogs to one hit over the last two innings to earn his 16th save, the seventh that required him to get six or more outs.
JJ Bleday’s RBI double started a five-run fifth for Vanderbilt and knocked out MSU starter Peyton Plumlee (7-5). Trysten Barlow took over, and Ethan Paul singled and Philip Clarke walked to load the bases. That brought on Riley Self, and DeMarco tapped his first pitch for an RBI groundout before Scott launched a first-pitch slider over right field for a three-run homer and 6-0 lead.
It was the Commodores’ second win of the season over MSU. The teams didn’t meet in the regular season; Vandy won 1-0 in the SEC Tournament.