VandyBoys shut out Missouri 6-0 on Holton’s outstanding start

The No. 4 Vanderbilt Commodores defeated the Missouri Tigers 6-0 for their 15th straight win on the back of Carter Holton’s seven-inning scoreless start.


Vanderbilt Athletics

Davis Diaz touches home plate after the first homer of his collegiate career on Mar. 19, 2022. (Vanderbilt Athletics)

Frankie Sheehy, Staff Writer

The Vanderbilt Commodores won their 15th straight game by taking the second game of the weekend against the Missouri Tigers, 6-0. Freshman Carter Holton recorded his fourth win in five starts against Missouri starter Austin Troesser.

Holton’s command started out shaky, hitting one batter and walking another in the top of the first, but he was able to get out of the inning on a ground ball to freshman third baseman Davis Diaz.

Missouri’s Juju Stevens started the top of the second with a bloop single into center field that landed just in front of sophomore Enrique Bradfield Jr. Diaz bobbled a potential double-play ball to allow the runner to reach second. After an infield single, Stevens overran third and Diaz threw behind to pick him off, with junior shortstop Carter Young covering the base.

“We work on that play a lot,” Diaz said. “I knew Carter was coming in behind me at third so I just thought instead of trying to make a play [at first], I could see if he’ll bite for the pump fake there and fortunately, he did.”

Troesser exited the game after two innings for the Tigers, holding the Commodores to just one hit and two walks, and was replaced by Christian Wall. Bradfield Jr. led off the bottom of the third with a walk, which was followed by an eight-pitch at bat from Diaz that ended with a single down the right-field line. Diaz stole second on a strikeout by junior Spencer Jones, which prompted the Tigers to intentionally walk senior Dominic Keegan to load the bases. Sophomore Gavin Casas then took another walk to score Bradfield Jr. and knock Wall out of the game.

Senior Tate Kolwyck led off the bottom of the fourth with his team-best fifth home run of the season, a towering drive over the left-field wall to give the VandyBoys a 2-0 lead. 

The top of the fifth was highlighted by a couple nice plays in the outfield. Jones caught a towering fly ball to right field at the wall to take away a potential home run, and senior Javier Vaz made a catch on the run in left.

Kolwyck got a single in the bottom of the sixth, and scored on a line drive into right field by Young after taking second on a wild pitch. Diaz hit the first home run of his college career with two outs to make it 5-0 Commodores. 

“I just try to get on base, but I’m glad I could get one,” Diaz said of the homer.

Holton pitched seven scoreless innings and threw 109 pitches for the win, striking out ten and allowing just three hits to improve to 4-0. The Georgia native looked very solid from the second inning on, continuing his strong freshman season.

“Really good start for a young kid like that in the SEC on a Saturday to keep the bullpen down,” head coach Tim Corbin said.

The Commodores threatened again in the bottom of the eighth after a walk from Young and a single by Bradfield Jr., who both advanced on a sacrifice bunt by Diaz. Young scored on a chopper in the infield by Jones to make the score 6-0.

Sophomore Christian Little came on for the VandyBoys for his sixth appearance of the season, all in relief. He was smooth in the final two innings, allowing no baserunners and striking out all of the last four Missouri hitters to secure the win.

The VandyBoys return to action tomorrow, Feb. 20, for the series finale against Missouri at 12 p.m. CDT. Corbin declined to name a starter, but hinted at a possible combination of sophomores Patrick Reilly and Hunter Owen.

“I’d rather not go into a Sunday like this, but we’re just pulled that way right now,” Corbin said. “[Reilly] is going to get a touch tomorrow. Whether it’s the start, the middle, or the end, he’s going to touch the ball.”

The Commodores improve to 16-2 on the season with their fifteenth consecutive victory and their fifth shutout.