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.

Vanderbilt dominates Western Kentucky in 12-1 win

The Commodores earn their third straight win to start the 2021 season.

The bats came alive for Vanderbilt on a perfect spring afternoon on Wednesday, and Vanderbilt baseball defeated Western Kentucky 12-1.

The youth movement on the mound kicked off with starter Christian Little. Little made his Vanderbilt debut at 17 years old after enrolling early at the university in January. He allowed a leadoff hit in each of the three innings he pitched, but he was able to control his fastball well enough to get out of each inning unscathed. The only run Little allowed was unearned due a throwing error credited to Jayson Gonzalez on a slightly high, but catchable throw to home.

“[Little’s] command and the ability to throw three to four pitches for strikes makes him unique,” First baseman Dominic Keegan said.

Little had plenty of run support. Vanderbilt got on the scoreboard in the bottom of the first inning with an RBI groundout from designated hitter Parker Noland. The play scored left fielder Jack Bulger from third base.

A 1-0 lead wouldn’t last long, though. The Commodores tacked on two more runs in the second inning courtesy of center fielder Enrique Bradfield Jr.’s two-RBI stand-up double. Bradfield Jr. scored CJ Rodriguez and Dominic Keegan from third and second base, respectively.

Bradfield, Jr. went 2-for-4 and showed off his speed as he nearly had another double.

Keegan wasn’t done making trips to home plate. With two outs in the bottom of the third inning, he muscled a three-run homer to center field to extend the Vanderbilt lead to 6-1.

Keegan had a perfect 3-for-3 night at the plate with two doubles and the three-run home run.

Freshman Hunter Owen replaced Little in the top of the fourth to make his own Vanderbilt debut. The 6’6 lefthander from Maine had a few wild throws early, but he settled down to strike out four in two scoreless innings.

“He’s improved tremendously since the fall,” head coach Tim Corbin said of Owen. “I would not have told you that we would have used him in these circumstances tonight.”

Vanderbilt added another three runs in the bottom of the fourth inning. Third baseman Jayson Gonzalez hit a leadoff single to center field and advanced to second base on Bulger’s groundout. Gonzalez scored when shortstop Carter Young hit a towering double to the right-center gap. Young wouldn’t be on the basepaths for long, as Noland reached on an error to score him. Noland scored all the way from first base when second baseman Tate Kolwyck tripled to right-center to make it 9-1 Vanderbilt.

Bulger earned his first career hit at Vanderbilt with an RBI single to score Keegan from second base in the bottom of the fifth inning. Vanderbilt scored in each of the first five innings of the game as it built a 10-1 lead.

Freshman Miles Garrett took the mound for Vanderbilt in the top of the sixth inning. Garrett hit 96 mph on his fastball and only needed 12 pitches to complete the first inning of his Commodore career.

Senior pitcher Hugh Fisher made his first appearance since his sophomore year in the top of the seventh inning. Fisher looked strong in his return to the mound after undergoing Tommy John surgery last season. He struck out the first two batters he faced in three pitches each.

Corbin started putting freshmen and sophomores into the game in the bottom of the seventh inning to get experience against live competition.

Calvin Hewitt replaced Bulger, and he was hit by a pitch in his only at-bat. Carter Young drew a walk, and Hewitt and Young advanced to third and second base, respectively on Troy LaNeve’s groundout. CJ Pittaro scored both Hewitt and Young with a single to right field to widen the lead to 12-1.

In the top of the eighth inning, freshman Grayson Moore made his first collegiate appearance. Moore walked one batter and struck out two in a clean inning of work.

Freshman right-hander Patrick Reilly came in to finish the game on the mound.

“I think more than anything, I’m glad the young kids who got an opportunity to pitch did well,” Corbin said. “They were aggressive and on top of the hitters. They didn’t give out free bases.”

Vanderbilt returns to action on Friday Feb. 26 to host Georgia State for a four-game weekend series.

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About the Contributor
Betsy Goodfriend
Betsy Goodfriend, Former Deputy Sports Editor
Betsy Goodfriend ('21) was the Deputy Sports Editor for The Vanderbilt Hustler. She majored in Human and Organizational Development with a minor in Business. In her free time, she enjoys online shopping, creating to-do lists and watching football even if she has no interest in either team playing. She can be reached at [email protected].    
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