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 defeat Western Kentucky 8-1 to win 12th straight game

The Vanderbilt Commodores won their 12th consecutive game in an 8-1 victory over the Western Kentucky Hilltoppers.
Vanderbilt Athletics
Enrique Bradfield Jr. high-fiving teammates after scoring a run (Vanderbilt Athletics).

The No. 4 Vanderbilt Commodores (24-5, 9-0 SEC) won their twelfth straight game on Tuesday in an 8-1 victory over the Western Kentucky Hilltoppers (16-14, 2-7 C-USA). The Commodores scored all their runs with two outs and pitched their way to a comfortable victory. Sloppy defense by the Hilltoppers kept them out of reach even though the Western Kentucky pitchers allowed just three earned runs.

“Defensively, we’ve been very consistent,” head coach Tim Corbin said in his postgame press conference. “We haven’t given up extra bases that way. We’re making plays, and our pitching has been more than solid, even on a night like tonight.”

The Commodores started the scoring in the bottom of the first. After Enrique Bradfield Jr. singled on the first pitch and reached second on an RJ Schreck walk, they both scored on a double into right-center field by RJ Austin to give Vanderbilt a 2-0 lead.

In the bottom of the second, Enrique Bradfield Jr. took a two-out walk, his 30th of the season. Davis Diaz took advantage, doubling down the left field line on a ground ball to put Vanderbilt 3-0.

“That’s just baseball,” said Diaz of the two-out hitting. “You get [runs] when you can, so I’m just happy to string them together.”

Vanderbilt produced more two-out magic in the third. After a Matthew Polk single, Jonathan Vastine reached on an error by the shortstop. Catcher Alan Espinal then drove a single into center, scoring two runs due to an error by the center-fielder.

Greysen Carter got the start for Vanderbilt on the mound. His fastball velocity was strong at 98-99 miles per hour, but Carter again struggled with his control. Carter issued six walks in his four-inning start but kept the Hilltoppers to just one hit to escape with no damage, holding the 5-0 lead.

“He created his own traffic but he pitched out of it,” Corbin said of his starting pitcher. “There’s something to that. Especially in the third inning. He walked the leadoff guys and left them at second and third with an out. So good for him, but that’s not how you want to do it. Greysen’s a completely different guy than he was twelve months ago and he’s improving.”

The Commodores threatened in the middle frames, but left a combined six runners on base in the fourth, fifth and sixth innings.

Thomas Schultz took the mound for his eighth outing in the fifth inning. He threw two scoreless innings, allowing just one single with a strikeout.

Patrick Reilly took the seventh inning, recording two strikeouts in a one-two-three inning.

The VandyBoys added three more runs in the bottom of the seventh thanks to more sloppy pitching and defense by the Hilltoppers. With the bases loaded on three walks, Jack Bulger grounded into what should have been the third out of the inning, but a bad throw allowed two runs to score. RJ Schreck subsequently scored on a wild pitch to give the Commodores an 8-0 lead.

Freshman left-hander JD Thompson pitched the eighth. The Hilltoppers broke the shutout in the top of the eighth as a leadoff single came around to score on a sacrifice fly, making it 8-1.

Jack Anderson was the last Vanderbilt pitcher of the night. The flame-throwing righty struck out the first two hitters before drawing a groundout to close out the victory.

The VandyBoys next will travel to Columbia, Missouri for a three-game set against the Missouri Tigers beginning on Thursday, April 6 at 6 p.m. CDT.

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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].
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