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 survive eighth-inning scare, defeating Central Arkansas to win fifth straight game

Despite sloppy defense, the No. 5 Vanderbilt Commodores won their fifth consecutive game by beating the Central Arkansas Bears.
The VandyBoys celebrate after getting out of an inning against Central Arkansas on Mar. 1, 2022. (Hustler Multimedia/Josh Rehders)

The No. 5 Vanderbilt Commodores won their fifth straight game, defeating the Central Arkansas Bears 5-2 behind three runs from freshman star Davis Diaz. On a beautiful Tuesday evening, the VandyBoys overcame four errors and kept their winning streak alive, dispatching Central Arkansas.

“We had a couple good swings, but I can’t sit here and tell you that was a lot of good baseball,” head coach Tim Corbin told The Hustler after the game. “When you give up fifteen free bases, that’s not going to do it. We’re not going to be sitting here talking about winning baseball if we play like that.”

Freshman Devin Futrell’s second start began with a strikeout before walking the next batter on four pitches. That runner stole second on the first pitch, and took third when senior catcher Dominic Keegan’s throw went into the outfield. Futrell got two more quick outs, though, and there was no damage done. 

The Commodores wasted no time getting on the scoreboard thanks to two errors by Bears shortstop RJ Pearson. Diaz, hitting in the second spot, reached first on the first error and scored on the second, following a single by junior Spencer Jones.

“You just try to do anything you can to help [your teammates] win,” Diaz said after the game. “Control the controllables and whatever happens happens.” 

Futrell got an early hook with a 1-0 lead as freshman Bryce Cunningham came in to pitch the top of the third. Futrell finished his outing throwing two shutout innings, allowing no hits, and striking out two in what Corbin confirmed was a planned short start.

Diaz then led off the bottom of the third with a line drive base hit up the middle. After the next two hitters struck out, Keegan hit a double off the wall in left field to bring Diaz home and double the Commodore lead.

Cunningham finished his two-inning outing with just one walk and one hit allowed. Sophomore Grayson Moore came out of the bullpen to make his second appearance in relief of Cunningham. Cunningham pitched two innings, allowing one hit and striking out two. 

Diaz led off the fifth inning with a single, and advanced to third on a balk followed by a deep flyout off the bat from Jones. Sophomore Gavin Casas, hitting in the cleanup spot, hit a grounder through the drawn-in infield to make the score 3-0, all three runs scored by Diaz. The rally continued after Keegan reached on a fielder’s choice, junior Carter Young singled, and senior Javier Vaz cashed in with a double down the left-field line to make it 4-0. 

The Bears scored their first run in the top of the sixth after two straight singles to start the inning. Connor Flagg reached third on a passed ball and then scored on a fielder’s choice in the infield. 

Junior Parker Noland led off the bottom of the sixth with his first home run of the season, a towering opposite-field fly ball to left to make it 5-1. The following walk to sophomore Enrique Bradfield Jr. knocked Haley out of the game. Then, after Diaz bunted him over to second, Bradfield was caught stealing for the first time this season, trying to take third on a pitch in the dirt.

Sophomore Christian Little pitched for the third time—all out of the bullpen—to start the seventh and struck out three Central Arkansas hitters, allowing just one hit in the inning. 

Nelson Berkwich was the fifth Commodore to take the hill beginning the top of the eighth, walking the leadoff man after having him on an 0-2 count. This was followed by a short dribbler in front of the plate which Keegan overthrew, letting the runner take third. After the next Bears hitter was hit by a pitch, Corbin went to the bullpen for graduate student Jack Anderson to pitch with the bases loaded. 

Despite starting with a strikeout, Anderson walked in a run to bring the go-ahead run to the plate with one out. The next hitter struck out, and a warning-track grab by Bradfield Jr. ended the inning with a 5-2 Vanderbilt lead.

“Jack Anderson was just pitching out of a mess,” Corbin said. “That could’ve been the ballgame right there. That was very clutch pitching.”

Junior Thomas Schultz came in for the save in the ninth inning and got the first two Bears to ground out. Then, he struck out the final batter of the game, securing the Commodores’ fifth straight victory and Schultz’s second save of the year.

The VandyBoys return to action on Friday, Mar. 4 to begin a four-game road series against Hawaii.

Leave a comment
About the Contributor
Frankie Sheehy
Frankie Sheehy, Former Deputy Sports Editor
Frankie Sheehy ('24) wrote for The Hustler Sports section and graduated from the College of Arts and Science with majors in economics and law, history and society. He was also the president of the Vanderbilt Chess Club and a superfan of the Chicago White Sox. You can reach him at [email protected].
More to Discover

Comments (0)

The Vanderbilt Hustler welcomes and encourages readers to engage with content and express opinions through the comment sections on our website and social media platforms. The Hustler reserves the right to remove comments that contain vulgarity, hate speech, personal attacks or that appear to be spam, commercial promotion or impersonation. The comment sections are moderated by our Editor-in-Chief, Rachael Perrotta, and our Social Media Director, Chloe Postlewaite. You can reach them at [email protected] and [email protected].
All The Vanderbilt Hustler picks Reader picks Sort: Newest
Notify of
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments