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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 beats Tennessee Tech, 7-0, cruises to its eighth straight midweek victory

The VandyBoys got back in the win column in dominant fashion.
Carter Young and Calvin Hewett celebrate a four-run first inning against Tennessee Tech on April 19, 2022. (Vanderbilt Athletics)

On a chilly April night at Hawkins Field, the Vanderbilt Commodores (26-10) defeated the Tennessee Tech Golden Eagles (20-14), 7-0, improving their midweek record to a perfect 8-0 on the season. In a matchup between two left-handed starting pitchers, Devin Futrell (W, 8-0) outdueled Brock Smith (L, 0-2) of Tennessee Tech and moved into a tie for first in the nation in wins this season.

“He’s just very consistent in his work habits and how he pitches out here to get us five, six innings every Tuesday is such a gift in so many ways,” head coach Tim Corbin said of Futrell’s start. “It keeps the bullpen down and stabilizes you for the weekend.”

The VandyBoys jumped on Smith early, who started in the Golden Eagles’ upset win over No. 1 Tennessee last week, scoring three runs and knocking him out of the game with just two outs into the bottom of the first.

Jack Bulger started things off with a one-out double to right center before Dominic Keegan was walked. With two men on, Spencer Jones hit a high-flying double off the right field wall, bringing Bulger home and putting the Commodores ahead, 1-0.

Then with two outs, Smith gave up three straight free passes to first base and allowed two more runs to score. First, Calvin Hewett was hit by a pitch which loaded the bases, then Davis Diaz forced an RBI walk before Matthew Polk was hit by another pitch to bring in the third run of the inning for the Commodores.

At that point, Matt Bragga, the Tennessee Tech manager, had seen enough of Smith and brought in righty Carter Gannaway with two outs and the bases loaded in the bottom of the first. Gannaway balked while facing his first batter, Carter Young, which brought Diaz home and extended Vanderbilt’s lead to 4-0 after one.

To start the bottom of the second, both Bradfield Jr. and Bulger were walked, and they advanced to third and second, respectively, after Gannaway’s second balk of the contest. Keegan then hit an RBI single, bringing in Bradfield Jr., and Jones hit an RBI fielder’s choice, sending Bulger home and putting the VandyBoys in front, 6-0, after two.

The Commodores added to their lead in the bottom of the fifth when Young was walked, Bradfield Jr. was hit by a pitch and, after each runner advanced a base on a groundout by Bulger, Keegan hit an RBI groundout to first base that allowed Young to score and put Vanderbilt ahead, 7-0.

Futrell worked efficiently to coast through six innings on the night, throwing 81 pitches, notching six strikeouts and allowing just two walks and three hits. His only legitimate scare came in the top of the fourth inning when he allowed a double and threw a wild pitch, which let the baserunner move to third, but he escaped without allowing a run to score.

“It’s a big confidence boost,” Futrell said about tonight’s win. “The SEC is pretty tough, so getting the first [win] of the week is always something we look forward to doing.”

Lefty Brett Hansen and righties Jack Anderson and Nick Maldonado came in to pitch the seventh, eighth and ninth innings, respectively, for the Commodores. The Vanderbilt relief pitchers each prevented the Golden Eagles from registering a hit; Anderson and Maldonado also each notched two strikeouts.

Bradfield Jr. stole two bases on the night, improving his total to 21 bags swiped this season without being caught. Tennessee Tech pitchers committed two balks, allowed seven walks and hit six Vanderbilt players on the night; the Commodores had just five hits but scored seven runs.

“It’s seven runs and really doesn’t matter how you put them up on the scoreboard,” Corbin said. “The bottom line is if you play good defense and keep them off the scoreboard, you give yourself a chance for a positive outcome.”

Up next, the Commodores travel to Lexington for a three-game series against the Kentucky Wildcats beginning Friday, April 22.

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About the Contributor
Andy Carr
Andy Carr, Former Assistant Sports Editor
Andy Carr ('22) was a student in the College of Arts and Science who studied economics with minors in business and computer science. In addition to writing, he enjoys running, playing golf and rooting for all D.C. sports. He can be reached at [email protected].
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