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Vanderbilt advances to SEC semis with 9-2 romp over Alabama

HOOVER, Ala. (AP) — Freshman RJ Austin hit a two-run home run to finish off a five-run first inning and Vanderbilt rolled to a 9-2 victory over Alabama on Friday night to advance to the semifinals of the SEC Tournament.

The fourth-seeded Commodores (39-18), ranked sixth in the coaches poll, will play top-seeded and second-ranked Florida (44-13) on Saturday.

Enrique Bradfield Jr. led off the game with a walk, Diaz followed with a single and Bradfield scored on a double by Schreck. Diaz scored on a ground out by Parker Noland and Chris Maldonado singled in RJ Schreck. Austin followed with his two-run shot and Vanderbilt never looked back.

Freshman Colby Shelton hit a two-run homer in the bottom of the third to pull the ninth-seeded Crimson Tide (40-19) within 5-2.

Matthew Polk had a two-run single as Vanderbilt scored three runs in the fifth to take a six-run lead. Maldonado hit a solo homer in the ninth.

Devin Futrell (7-3) picked up the win in a start for the Commodores. He pitched five innings, allowing two runs on four hits and three walks. Thomas Schulz pitched the final four innings to notch his first save of the season. He gave up a hit and a walk, striking out four.

Jacob McNairy (6-2) took the loss for Alabama. He worked 4 1/3 innings and surrendered eight runs — seven earned — on nine hits and four walks.

Austin finished with three hits for Vanderbilt.

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AP college sports: https://apnews.com/hub/college-sports and https://twitter.com/AP_Top25