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.

No. 10 Vanderbilt dominates against UAB with 13-1 win

The VandyBoys rebounded with a seven-inning 13-1 win over UAB featuring three homers.
Greysen Carter pitching against UAB, as photographed on Feb. 22, 2023. (Hustler Multimedia/Barrie Barto)

In search of a bounce-back win after losing 5-4 in its home opener on Tuesday, Vanderbilt welcomed the UAB Blazers to Hawkins Field on a warm and windy afternoon in Nashville. Thanks to two homers from catcher Alan Espinal, the Commodores handily won 13-1.

Right-hander Greyson Carter was on the mound for Vanderbilt. The sophomore came out of the gates hot in his first college start, striking out two batters en route to a scoreless first inning. His success flowed through the control of his electric four-seam fastball, which topped out at 100 MPH in the first inning.

“It’s a heavy fastball, so it’s tough to hit,” head coach Tim Corbin said after the game. “But he also can throw a good breaking ball, and he threw the change several times today for strikes, so I thought he decelerated the ball pretty well.”

Meanwhile, UAB starter JC Sewell struggled to keep the Commodore bats quiet. Enrique Bradfield Jr. led off the game with a bunt single and found himself on second base just seconds later after collecting his third stolen base of the year. He came around to score when RJ Austin grounded a single between the shortstop and the third baseman, giving the VandyBoys a 1-0 lead. 

The following inning, Vanderbilt threatened again, loading the bases on three consecutive walks to second baseman Jonathan Vastine, designated hitter Matthew Polk and catcher Alan Espinal. However, a strikeout from Bradfield Jr. and a groundout from Austin kept the Commodores from extending their lead. Austin’s groundout would mark the end of the day for Sewell, who allowed three walks and three hits while striking out one on the day. 

Carter worked hard to maintain the VandyBoys’ narrow lead, battling through a one-out single in the second by striking out catcher Henry Hunter and eliciting a ground-out from shortstop Gavin Lewis Jr. In the third, he ran into trouble once again after walking right fielder Logan Braunschweig and surrendering an infield single to third baseman Ben Abernathy. Braunschweig scored when Vastine botched a ground ball on what could have been an inning-ending double play, but a strikeout and a groundout limited the damage to one.

“He got out there, threw the baseball hard and he threw it well,” Corbin said. “That was a great outing for him.”

In the top of the fourth, Carter gave way to freshman David Horn, exiting his season debut with four strikeouts, two walks, two hits, and one earned run. Horn settled in nicely, setting the Blazers down in order in his first inning of work. He got some significant help from his defense as right fielder RJ Schreck made an acrobatic diving catch on a ball that seemed destined to find the turf.

The Commodores finally broke the deadlock in the bottom of the fourth when Espinal launched a three-run home run to left field off UAB reliever Colin Daniel. The long ball, which left his bat at an astonishing 115 MPH, brought home Polk and shortstop Davis Diaz, who reached base by being hit by a pitch and a walk, respectively. 

“He released the head [of the bat] a couple of times and caught a good ballgame,” Corbin said. “There’s no one who works harder than that kid.”

When Bradfield Jr. was hit by a pitch in the following at-bat, it looked as though the VandyBoys were poised to grow the lead even further. However, Hunter threw out the speedster as he was trying to take second base, marking the first time Bradfield Jr. has been caught stealing in almost two years.

After Horn kept UAB from pushing any runs across in the top of the fifth, the Blazers turned to freshman left-hander Isaac Warrick. He hit Schreck with an inside fastball and walked Calvin Hewett before allowing a sacrifice bunt from Parker Noland, putting two Commodore runners in scoring position with no one out. Diaz brought the first of those runners around on a fly ball that was dropped by Braunschweig, and Vastine scored the second on a line drive double to left center field. UAB turned to junior right-hander John Luke Marlin to try to limit the damage, but he hit Polk with a pitch and walked Espinal, bringing home the seventh Vanderbilt run of the game. Fellow junior Carson Knight didn’t find much more success, surrendering a sacrifice fly to Bradfield Jr. and an infield single to Austin before finally getting out of the inning with the scoreboard reading 9-1. 

But the VandyBoys weren’t done there. In the sixth, they tacked on a 10th run when Diaz blooped a single over the shortstop, scoring Hewett who had walked to start the inning. Two batters later, Polk drilled a home run to left-center to bring the run total to 12. 

“He’s an energy kid that has a twitch in his bat,” Corbin said. “His barrel contact and how fast his barrel is through the zone is pretty impressive.” 

On the following pitch, Espinal cleared the fence yet again, crushing a changeup over the monster in left field. 

“I got a slider from the pitcher, [and] I just reacted,” Espinal said after the game. “That’s something that we trained downstairs with, so it was just the heat of the moment, and I just saw it.”

With a comfortable lead in hand, Corbin turned to sophomore Ryan Ginther to close out the game. He cruised through the sixth, picking up a strikeout and two groundouts on just six pitches. The seventh didn’t prove to be much more difficult, as it took the left-hander just 11 pitches to send UAB back to the dugout. The groundout to first base that closed out the seventh marked the end of the game, as the 10-run mercy rule was in effect.

Vanderbilt will be back on the diamond at 4:30 p.m. CST on Friday, Feb. 24 for the first of three home games against UCLA.

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About the Contributors
Luke Rollfinke, Senior Staff Writer
Luke Rollfinke ('25) is a student in the College of Arts and Science planning to major in mathematics with a minor in communications. Luke loves all things sports, so when he's not writing for The Hustler, he's probably either playing for a club or intramural Vanderbilt sports team. You can reach him at [email protected].
Barrie Barto, Senior Staff Photographer
Barrie Barto ('25) is majoring in medicine, health & society with minors in communication of science & technology and neuroscience in the College of Arts and Science. She previously served as Photography Director. Outside of The Hustler, you can find Barrie cheering on the St. Louis Blues or tracking down the best gluten-free food in Nashville. She can be reached at [email protected].
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