The official student newspaper of Vanderbilt University

The Vanderbilt Hustler

The official student newspaper of Vanderbilt University.
Since 1888
The official student newspaper of Vanderbilt University

The Vanderbilt Hustler

The official student newspaper of Vanderbilt University.
The official student newspaper of Vanderbilt University

The Vanderbilt Hustler

The official student newspaper of Vanderbilt University.

VandyBoys dazzle in first game action since College World Series title

Keegan, veteran pitching headline 12-7 win over Oklahoma State in fall exhibition
Hunter Long
Photo by Hunter Long

It’s been four whole months since the Vanderbilt Commodores hoisted the trophy after winning the College World Series, but on Saturday, the VandyBoys showed no signs of rust.

In a fall scrimmage in Kansas City against the Oklahoma State Cowboys, Vanderbilt dominated, winning 12-7 in 16 innings and pitching a shutout for the first 10. The Commodores leaned on standout pitching and some of their younger bats, including sophomores Matt Hogan (2-6) and Dominic Keegan (4-8) as well as freshman first baseman Spencer Jones (3-8).

Vanderbilt opened the game in familiar fashion, with now-sophomore right-hander Kumar Rocker on the mound. Rocker didn’t have his usual velocity (which is normal for the fall) instead sitting around 90-91 mph, but he showed command of his fastball and slider while experimenting more with his changeup. He pitched two shutout innings allowing just one hit and one walk while striking out three.

Jake Eder relieved Rocker and hurled a pair of scoreless innings, striking out four, and Chance Huff followed suit with two scoreless frames of his own. Huff would pick up the win.

After putting up zeroes in the first five innings, Vanderbilt’s offense broke through in the sixth. Sophomore outfielder Matt Hogan drove a fastball the other way, sending it over the wall in left for a three-run homer to give Vanderbilt a 3-0 lead.

After redshirt freshman right-hander Luke Murphy stranded the bases loaded in the top of the seventh, Dominic Keegan unloaded, rocketing a fastball over the wall in center for another three-run homer to double the Vanderbilt lead. Keegan would finish the day with four hits out of the cleanup spot, finishing just a double short of the cycle in an impressive showing.

Tyler Brown’s 1-2-3 eighth inning brought the Commodores back up to the plate, where they added a trio of runs for the third consecutive inning. This time, the long ball came off the bat of junior Jayson Gonzalez, who smashed a solo shot the opposite way to right for one of his two hits on the day.

Freshman Parker Noland provided a couple more runs on a two-RBI single to extend the lead to 9-0. The Knoxville native would add three more RBIs in the later innings on a two-run groundout and a sacrifice fly to push his total to five.

The second half of the ball game saw the highly anticipated freshman Jack Leiter take the mound for the Commodores. The right-hander out of Summit, New Jersey showed why he’s the top-ranked freshman pitcher in the nation, hurling two shutout innings and striking out four.

The Cowboys put some runs on the board, notching seven runs, including a two-run triple to left-center off the bat of Huey Morrill.

Of course, Saturday’s showing was just a scrimmage, but the VandyBoys reminded the college baseball world that they’re back with some upstart new talent and some powerful returning arms. Vanderbilt’s pitchers didn’t light up the radar guns, but they showed command and located around the strike zone throughout the day, finishing with a 2.25 ERA and striking out 19 batters.

The Commodore hitters were outstanding, notching 19 hits in 63 at-bats for a .302 batting average and working 15 walks in the process for a .430 on-base percentage.

Vanderbilt will play its second and final exhibition game Nov. 10 at Hawkins Field against the Michigan Wolverines in a rematch of the College World Series final.

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About the Contributors
Max Schneider
Max Schneider, Former Sports Editor

Max Schneider (’20) was the Sports Editor for the Vanderbilt Hustler. He has been on staff since the first semester of his freshman year, first as a staff writer and shortly thereafter as the Deputy Sports Editor. Max also serves as the host of VU Sports Wired on Vanderbilt Television and The Hustler Sports 30 on VandyRadio.

He majored in communications studies and political science in the College of Arts and Science. Max has had bylines on and has previously worked for The Nashville Predators, The Players’ Tribune and Nashville SC. He has attended several events as credentialed media, including the 2019 College Baseball World Series, the 2019 NBA Draft and the 2018 Texas Bowl.

Max is a native New Yorker and a die-hard Jets fan still holding out hope.

For tips, please reach out to: [email protected] or find him on Twitter or LinkedIn
Hunter Long
Hunter Long, Former Multimedia Director
Hunter Long (’21) is from Austin, TX and double majored in molecular biology and medicine, health and society. He is an avid lover of film photography, good music and all things coffee. He can be reached at [email protected].    
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