Baseball: Vanderbilt 11 Mississippi State 3

Brian Harris (VM/Don Yates)

NASHVILLE-- Brian Harris went 4-for-4 to pace Vanderbilt's 14-hit attack in an 11-3 win over Mississippi State Sunday afternoon at Hawkins Field.

The Commodores (27-17, 10-10 SEC) swept the three-game set over the Bulldogs (21-24, 6-15 SEC) for the second straight season and have now won seven straight in the series.

Harris went 4-for-4 with a homer, two RBI and two runs scored to cap off a strong weekend. The Nashville native was 8-for-13 in the three games with two doubles, two homers, four RBI and five runs scored from the leadoff spot.

"Last week was tough and coming off of Louisville, we were able to build a bit of confidence coming into this weekend series against Mississippi State," said Brian Harris. "This is definitely a good way to end the weekend."

Caleb Cotham, who missed his scheduled start on Saturday due to injury, started today and allowed one run on four hits in 2.2 innings with four walks and five strikeouts. Nick Christiani (4-3) came on in the third and pitched 3.1 innings of relief, allowing one run on three hits with a strikeout.

Mississippi State took a 1-0 lead in the first on Ryan Duffy's RBI single to left. That was the only lead the Bulldogs had all weekend and it lasted half an inning as the Commodores tied it in the bottom half on Curt Casali's solo homer to left-center.

VU broke the game open in the second scoring five runs to take a 6-1 lead. Jason Esposito had a bases loaded sacrifice fly RBI while Brian Harris added a two-run homer and Casali a RBI single to lead the way.

Steven Liddle's RBI single in the fourth extended the lead to 7-1.

Ryan Duffy homered in the fifth and Grant Hogue added a RBI single in the eighth to account for the rest of State's scoring in the game.

The Bulldogs twice had bases loaded situations with no outs (second and seventh), and twice came away with nothing. They left 12 men on base today and 26 for the weekend.

Christiani loaded the bases up in the seventh with no outs and was relieved by Richie Goodenow who struck out Ryan Duffy for the first out. Sonny Gray then came on and struck out Connor Powers before getting Russ Sneed to fly out to right to end the threat.

Gray allowed one run on three hits in 2.2 innings with six strikeouts and no walks to pick up his fifth save of the year.

Steven Liddle had three hits and three RBI and Casali added three hits and two RBI as the top three hitters in the lineup went 10-for-14 with seven RBI and five runs scored.

"Our top three guys had great weekends," said Vanderbilt head coach Tim Corbin. "They were hitting the ball well and hitting it hard. What needs to happen for us to continue this momentum is for the bottom half of the lineup to step it up a bit more."

The Commodores will complete their final exams this week before heading to South Carolina for a three-game series next weekend. The teams will play on Friday at 6 p.m., Saturday at 6 p.m. and Sunday at 12:30 p.m. All three games will be televised on SportSouth. Check your local listings for broadcast information in your area.
Mississippi State 100 010 010 - 3(10)1
Vanderbilt        150 100 04x - 11(14)0
Whitney, Pace (2), Wesson (4), Jones (8) and Freeman. Cotham, Christiani (3), Gray (7) and Giobbi. W- Christiani 4-3, L- Whitney 2-4. Sv- Gray (5) HR: MSU: Duffy (6) VU: Casali (8), Harris (6), Esposito (4), Liddle (7).

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