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.

Weekend Update: Vanderbilt wins two out of three against UCLA

Live updates from the VandyBoys’ weekend series against No. 17 UCLA at Hawkins Field from Feb. 24-26.
Hunter+Owen+pitches+against+UCLA%2C+as+photographed+on+Feb.+25%2C+2023.+%28Hustler+Multimedia%2FKadyn+Lee%29
Kadyn Lee
Hunter Owen pitches against UCLA, as photographed on Feb. 25, 2023. (Hustler Multimedia/Kadyn Lee)

Introducing Weekend Update, your new home for recaps of the VandyBoys’ weekend series! Follow along with The Vanderbilt Hustler’s live tracker all weekend, every weekend.

The VandyBoys won two out of three games against No. 17 UCLA, allowing just 4 runs all weekend.

Game 3, Sunday, Feb 26: Vanderbilt 2, UCLA 1

Jonathan Vastine celebrates a double against UCLA on February 26, 2023 (Hustler Multimedia/Michael Tung).
Jonathan Vastine celebrates a double against UCLA on February 26, 2023 (Hustler Multimedia/Michael Tung). (Michael Tung)

FINAL:

An outstanding pitching performance and a Davis Diaz home run secured a tight win for the VandyBoys in the Sunday rubber game. Devin Futrell earns the win.

WHAT THEY SAID:

Nick Maldonado

“We don’t like to value any opponent differently, but it’s definitely a big win and a big series win,” Maldonado said of the weekend. “We were able to learn a lot from it.”

“We have a great starter in Devin,” Maldonado said of Futrell. “We were able to bridge a gap, and then give me the ball, and I felt very confident out there. It was good.”

“My slider was the putout pitch today,” Maldonado said. “It felt good out of my hand, and I was confident in it.”

Bottom 9:

Nick Maldonado earns a nine-out save with 8 strikeouts to end the game. UCLA’s hitters could not keep up with his slider, and Maldonado pumped a fastball to clinch the win.

Bottom 8:

The Commodores went down one-two-three in the bottom of the eighth. Nick Maldonado now looks to finish a nine-out save.

Top 8:

Nick Maldonado allowed two baserunners but escaped the jam via the strikeout. He’s struck out five hitters in two innings. UCLA is down to their last three outs.

Bottom 7:

UCLA starter Kelly Austin is out of the game after six innings, in line for the loss. He allowed 2 runs, both earned, 3 hits, no walks, and struck out 5. Cody Delvecchio comes in for the second straight day. Jonathan Vastine doubled and Davis Diaz walked to knock out Delvecchio. After Parker Noland walked, pinch hitter Troy LaNeve struck out to strand the bases loaded.

Top 7:

Nick Maldonado comes in the game for Vanderbilt. It’s his third relief appearance of the year, pitching a scoreless inning in each of the first two. Maldonado struck out the first two hitters on just seven pitches before drawing a fly out from Schrier.

Top 6: UCLA 1, Vanderbilt 2

Andrew Dutkanych IV is on the mound for the VandyBoys to relieve Futrell. Dutkanych IV allowed a double from Kyle Karros and a walk to provoke a mound visit from pitching coach Scott Brown. Despite the visit, Darius Perry singled to right field to drive in a run. Dutkanych IV came back to strike out the next two hitters and retire the side without further damage.

Top 5:

Futrell’s outing is probably done after a Cody Schrier flyout ends the inning. Futrell is in line for the win after 5 innings of shutout baseball, 2 hits, 3 walks and 4 strikeouts.

Bottom 4:

Both teams went down one-two-three in the fourth. Futrell has only thrown 64 pitches, so he could have another inning or two left on the mound.

Bottom 3:

After getting on base with a single, Enrique Bradfield Jr. has set the all-time program record for most stolen bases in his college career. It’s his 97th in just over two years of play at Vanderbilt. After the steal, there was a brief pause as the fans at Hawkins Field gave Bradfield Jr. a standing ovation. Just a few pitches later, Bradfield Jr. attempted to time the UCLA pitcher and was caught stealing at third.

Bottom 2: UCLA 0, Vanderbilt 2

After Jonathan Vastine singled to get on base, Davis Diaz goes deep to left for his first home run of the season, the third of his career. The next two Commodores went down in order, but it’s Vanderbilt’s first extra-base hit since Friday.

Top 2:

A nice running grab in the left-center field gap by Enrique Bradfield Jr. saves extra bases and probably a run. Futrell has walked one, but mostly drawn weak contact so far.

Top 1: UCLA 0, Vanderbilt 0

Devin Futrell picks off UCLA’s Daylen Reyes to end the top of the inning. Futrell’s slider looks sharp early. Commodores coming to bat.

Pregame:

We’re back for the third, final and rubber game of this weekend set against UCLA. Devin Futrell is on the mound for the Commodores against UCLA’s Kelly Austin. Meanwhile, Alan Espinal catches for the third straight day and Chris Maldonado gets a start as the designated hitter. Here’s the full lineup for Tim Corbin’s side:

Game 2, Saturday, Feb. 25: UCLA 3, Vanderbilt 0

Enrique Bradfield Jr. against UCLA on February 25, 2022 (Hustler Multimedia/Kadyn Lee).
Enrique Bradfield Jr. against UCLA on Feb. 25, 2023. (Hustler Multimedia/Kadyn Lee)

FINAL

The Commodores fall to 4-3 on the season with a 3-0 loss to UCLA. The Bruins’ offense came on three solo homers, two back-to-back in the seventh inning off Sam Hliboki. Hliboki gets the loss, with Delvecchio winning for UCLA.

WHAT THEY SAID:

Tim Corbin

“They pitched well,” Corbin said of UCLA. “Facing an All-American in the beginning and after that, they can really execute. It’s championship-type pitching, and they shut us down. You have to give them credit.”

“We ran ourselves out of that inning,” Corbin said about the first inning. “It was a bang-bang play at second base when Enrique got thrown out, but he got thrown out. And then we didn’t make a good decision trying to steal third base right there. That was a mistake, but that’s okay.”

“[Hunter Owen] was really good. That’s the kind of start we needed,” Corbin said of his starter. “The best I’ve seen him execute in a time that he’s really developed. I like where he is right now. He gave us a chance to win, and that’s all you can do.”

Corbin also confirmed that Devin Futrell will start on Sunday and declined to say whether Andrew Dutkanych IV would be used.

“He’s a starter for us,” Corbin said of Futrell. “Where he gets positioned, we still don’t know. We still have some good arms that haven’t pitched yet. But Devin gives you a chance to win every time he pitches.”

GAME UPDATES:

Bottom 9:

The Commodores went down 1-2-3 in the 9th, finishing the day 5-for-30 at the plate with no extra-base hits. Luke Jewett got the save for UCLA.

Top 9: Vanderbilt 0, UCLA 3

With Thomas Schultz on the mound for the Commodores, UCLA’s Kyle Karros homered to increase the lead. Schultz then walked two more hitters.

Bottom 8:

RJ Austin and Calvin Hewett singled to put the tying run on base for the red-hot bat of Jonathan Vastine. However, Austin grounded out to end the inning. The Commodores are hitting just .185 today with no extra-base hits.

Top 7: Vanderbilt 0, UCLA 2

Duce Gourson and Darius Perry hit back-to-back solo home runs off Sam Hliboki, who has been replaced by lefty Ryan Ginther.

Bottom 6:

UCLA starter Alonzo Tredwell is out of the game, but the Commodores still went down in order in the sixth. Both teams still only have two hits, with Hliboki still in for Vanderbilt.

Top 5:

Owen’s outing is done after 4.2 innings, and he’ll get a no-decision. He threw 78 pitches, allowed 2 hits, 2 walks, struck out 7 in one of the better appearances of his college career. Sam Hliboki came in and stranded the two UCLA runners.

Bottom 4:

The pitching duel between Owen and Tredwell continues. Both teams are just 1-for-11 at the plate.

Bottom 3:

Vanderbilt strands another two baserunners. Alonzo Tredwell has walked four Commodore hitters, but the VandyBoys have been unable to cash in so far.

Top 3:

Hunter Owen continues to cruise through the UCLA hitters. He’s allowed just one hit and one walk through three innings, striking out four.

Bottom 1:

In an odd bottom of the first, the Commodores walked three times and took an 18th hit-by-pitch of the year. Yet, they were caught stealing twice and came up empty, so we’re still scoreless at Hawkins Field.

Top 1:

UCLA goes three up, three down. Davis Diaz dropped a liner at first to give the Bruins a baserunner, but an odd double play got Hunter Owen out of the inning.

Pregame:

The VandyBoys are back at it against UCLA on this rainy Saturday afternoon. Vanderbilt southpaw Owen takes the mound against the Bruins’ ace Alonzo Tredwell.

 

Game 1, Friday, Feb. 24: Vanderbilt 6, UCLA 0

Enrique Bradfield swings at a pitch against UCLA on February 24, 2022 (Hustler Multimedia/Geetika Komati).
Enrique Bradfield swings at a pitch against UCLA on February 24, 2022 (Hustler Multimedia/Geetika Komati). (Geetika Komati)

Vanderbilt took game one of the weekend series against UCLA with a final score of 6-0. Carter Holton (1-1) got the win against Jake Brooks (1-1). A five-run fourth inning propelled the VandyBoys offense, and Holton and Bryce Cunningham combined to allow just five hits to the Bruins in the win.

WHAT THEY SAID: 

Tim Corbin

“He executed,” Corbin said on Holton’s outing. “He was efficient, getting into the sixth inning this team of year especially against a team like that is really important. You have to attack, and he did a good job of that.”

“Friday night, if you can do that, you give your staff a good chance moving forward,” Corbin said of using just two pitchers versus UCLA’s six. “Bryce [Cunningham] has helped us now two games in a row. He’s been able to extend himself, and that’s been helpful, very strong and very aggressive at the end of his outing too.”

“Timely,” Corbin said of his offense. “That was the difference in the game was just the one inning. Getting that run in the eighth inning was just as important, you get into a situation where they are very capable of coming back; it was important to put one more on that scoreboard.”

“He competes, he just likes to play,” Corbin added on his freshman third baseman RJ Austin. “He reminds me of a 70s player — no frills, very enjoyable to watch. Someone who hits the ball and you see hot legs coming out the box.”

Carter Holton

“Just slowing myself down a little bit, getting back over the plate, not trying to rush things,” Holton said of his adjustments from his last start against TCU. “Feel for the curveball was there a lot of the time.”

“They’re a really good strike zone team,” Holton added on UCLA. “Just filling up the strike zone was very key. Slider felt really good against both righties and lefties.”

GAME UPDATES:

Top 1

Carter Holton worked a three-pitch strikeout to leave a runner stranded in his first frame of work. Holton struck out two and walked one, while Enrique Bradfield Jr. made a run to retrieve a ball shot out to right center.

Bottom 1 

Vanderbilt’s offense went down 1-2-3 after seeing just 9 pitches from UCLA starter Jake Brooks. Bradfield Jr. popped out to short, designated hitter Matthew Polk grounded out to first and RJ Schreck flew out to right.

Bottom 3

Calvin Hewett and RJ Austin reached base via the hit-by-pitch but were left stranded after back-to-back strikeouts from Jake Brooks. Brooks got both Parker Noland and Davis Diaz swinging to work his way out of the inning.

Bottom 4: Vanderbilt 5, UCLA 0

RJ Schreck got the Commodores on the board with their first hit of the game, a soft liner right that got through the UCLA shift. After back-to-back strikeouts for Calvin Hewett and Jonathan Vastine, RJ Austin got a two-out rally started for the VandyBoys. Austin hit a swinging bunt down the third base line that was bobbled by Kyle Karros, allowing Austin to beat out a throw to first. Schreck, who advanced to second on a balk, moved to third base on the play to give Vanderbilt runners at the corners. Parker Noland was hit by a pitch — the third of the day for Brooks — to load the bases.

Davis Diaz delivered in the clutch situation, poking a ball into right field to score two the RJs: Schreck and Austin.

Alan Espinal walked to load the bases once again for the Commodores. Lead-off man Bradfield Jr. got his first hit of the day, ripping a ball through the left side of the infield to bring in two more runs for Vanderbilt.

Matthew Polk completed the Vanderbilt bat-around in the fourth inning with a high-hopper to second base where Duce Gourson tried to tag a sprinting Bradfield Jr. near the bag, missed and then threw the ball away on his attempt to first. Espinal scored on the play, and Bradfield Jr. reached third, giving Vanderbilt runners at the corners. A pitch clock violation on ball three of Schreck’s second at-bat of the inning led to another bases-loaded opportunity for the VandyBoys, this time for Hewett. Hewett hit a soft pop out to left field that was caught by UCLA shortstop Cody Schrier to end the incredible two-out rally. Eight straight Commodores reached base, chasing Bruin starter Jake Brooks from the contest after just 3.2 innings of work.

Top 5: Vanderbilt 5, UCLA 0

After an inning-opening walk, Carter Holton strikes out three straight UCLA batters to bring his total to six through five innings.

Bottom 5: Vanderbilt 5, UCLA 0 

Jonathan Vastine ripped a double to right to start the inning and reached third on a passed ball. Austin and Noland were set down on strikes, and Diaz was thrown out on a nice play from Schrier at short.

Top 6: Vanderbilt 5, UCLA 0 

After retiring the first two UCLA hitters of the inning, Corbin pulled starter Holton after 88 pitches. Holton’s final line: 5.2 IP, 1 H, 7 Ks, 3 BBs, 88 pitches (55 strikes).

Bottom 8: Vanderbilt 6, UCLA 0 

Austin got the inning started with a single up the middle his second base knock of the day. Noland followed it up with a single to right, moving Austin to third base. Diaz came in clutch once again, reaching via a fielder’s choice and bringing in Austin for his second RBI of the game. An Espinal liner that registered at 109 MPH off the bat gave Vanderbilt runners at the corners with one out. Bradfield Jr. faced Jake Saum — UCLA’s sixth pitcher of the evening — and walked to load the bases. Polk struck out and Schreck grounded into the shift to get the Bruins out of the inning.

Bottom 9: Vanderbilt 6, UCLA 0

A 1-2-3 inning from Cunningham gave Vanderbilt a dominant series-opening win to improve to 4-2 on the season. Owen is projected to start on the hill for the Commodores on Saturday at 1 p.m. CST against UCLA.

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About the Contributors
Bryce Smith
Bryce Smith, Former Sports Editor
Bryce Smith ('23) is majoring in human and organizational development in Peabody College with a minor in business. Bryce previously wrote for SBNation before joining The Hustler. Hailing from Chicago, Bryce is a die-hard Bears and Cubs fan who is also hoping that the Bulls and Blackhawks may one day rekindle their dominance. He can be reached at [email protected].    
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].
Barrie Barto
Barrie Barto, Editor-in-Chief
Barrie Barto ('25) is majoring in medicine, health & society with neuroscience and communication of science & technology minors in the College of Arts and Science. She previously served as Photography Director. When she's not strolling around campus with her camera, 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].
Geetika Komati
Geetika Komati, Staff Photographer
Geetika Komati ('26) is majoring in economics and music performance and minoring in business in the College of Arts and Science. She is from Livingston, N.J. Geetika loves photographing sports games and getting in on the live action. Apart from the Hustler, some of Geetika's favorite things are traveling, boxing, and cheering on the New Jersey Devils. She can be reached at [email protected].
Kadyn Lee
Kadyn Lee, Staff Photographer
Kadyn Lee ('26) is majoring in economics in the College of Arts and Science. She is from Atlanta, Georgia and loves photography, The Weeknd and spending time with friends. She can be reached at [email protected].
Michael Tung
Michael Tung, Staff Photographer
Michael Tung ('26) is majoring in computer science. He is currently a staff photographer and is originally from Dublin, Ohio. His interests are photography, engineering, all things aerospace and music. He can be reached at [email protected]
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