Price (4-2) struck out 13 and notched his fifth straight double-digit strikeout game in the process. He has not given up a run in his last 19.1 innings pitched.
“Having Coach Johnson (Derek) calling the pitches and a catcher like Brian Hernandez receiving them, makes it easier for me,” said Price. “I mainly tried to spot my fastball in and out and throw my slider. The offense did a good job of getting a lead early and that took the pressure off of me.”
Vanderbilt improved to 18-8 overall and won its fifth straight Southeastern Conference game to improve to 6-1 in league play. Florida dropped to 18-12 on the year and 2-5 in SEC play.
VU snapped a six-game regular season losing streak to the Gators, having been swept the last two seasons.
The Commodores took a 2-0 lead in the first on Ryan Flaherty’s two-run single through the right side. David Macias led off the game with a walk and moved to second when Pedro Alvarez singled up the middle. Both runners advanced on a passed ball before Flaherty came through with the base hit.
Vanderbilt plated two more runs in the fourth to extend the lead to 4-0. Flaherty led off the inning with a double and moved to third on Dominic de la Osa’s bunt single. He would then score on a RBI groundout by Shea Robin and de la Osa would later score on a groundout by Alex Feinberg.
VU added two more runs in the fifth on a RBI single by Dominic de la Osa and on a throwing error by starting pitcher Bryan Ball that allowed Flaherty to score from third.
The freshman duo of Pedro Alvarez and Ryan Flaherty went a combined 5-for-6 with two RBI and four runs scored. David Macias had three hits and Dominic de la Osa added two in the winning cause.
Freshman Nick Christiani closed out the game with a scoreless ninth.
Gator starter Bryan Ball (4-4) was tagged with the loss after giving up six runs, four earned, off of 11 hits in 7.1 innings of work.
The teams will play the second game of the three game set tomorrow afternoon at 2 p.m. ET. The gametime was moved earlier this week due to the Florida men’s basketball team playing in the Final Four tomorrow evening. Senior righthander Matt Buschmann will take the bump for Vanderbilt, while sophomore Bryan Augenstein will throw for the Gators.
No. 17 Vanderbilt 200 220 000- 6(12)3
No. 15 Florida 000 000 000- 061
Price, Christiani (9) and Hernandez. Ball, Keating (8) and Jeroloman. W- Price 4-2, L- Ball 4-4. SV- None. HR- None.