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.

NCAA Regional: No. 6 VandyBoys upset by No. 24 Oregon Ducks 8-7

Vanderbilt’s ninth inning rally was not enough to overcome Oregon’s strong pitching.
RJ+Austin+runs+to+first+place+on+June+3%2C+2023+%28Hustler+Multimedia%2FBarrie+Barto%29.
Barrie Barto
RJ Austin runs to first place on June 3, 2023 (Hustler Multimedia/Barrie Barto).

Following a 12-2 thrash over Eastern Illinois, the No. 6 Vanderbilt Commodores fell to the No. 24 Oregon Ducks 8-7 on Saturday evening. The Ducks had a three-run first inning and a four-run fifth inning, which proved to be the tone-setters for the entire night. 

The night began with left-hander Hunter Owen getting the nod for the Commodores. In Owen’s second pitch of the night, the junior hit Oregon’s Rikuu Nishida in the back. After Owen retired one batter, he faced Drew Cowley. Cowley singled down the right field line to RJ Austin, bringing Nishida home from first base due to an errant throw from Austin to Davis Diaz. On the next play, Cowley got home from first base on a ground out from Sabin Ceballos. Facing a 2-0 deficit early in the game, Owen was unable to stop the bleeding and surrendered a home run to Tanner Smith. Owen would strike out the next batter and Vanderbilt found themselves in a 3-0 hole in the middle of the first inning.

Hunter Owen surrendered two home runs in Vanderbilt's matchup with Oregon on June 2, 2023 (Hustler Multimedia/Barrie Barto).
Hunter Owen surrendered two home runs in Vanderbilt’s matchup with Oregon on June 2, 2023 (Hustler Multimedia/Barrie Barto). (Barrie Barto)

Following their poor defensive start, the Commodores were able to get points on the board in the bottom of the first inning. After Enrique Bradfield Jr. flew out, Diaz doubled and RJ Schrek was walked. With runners on first and second base, Parker Noland drove a ball out to right field, bringing Diaz home.

Owen, facing a 3-1 deficit, looked to have a clean second inning. Owen was unable to do that, as he surrendered a one-run homer to Bennett Thompson. Owen would get into a rhythm after that, allowing zero runs and three hits in 2.5 more innings. He was replaced by sophomore Ryan Ginther at the start of the fifth inning.

The Vanderbilt offense inculcated a vibrant atmosphere to Hawkins Field in the bottom of the second inning. The Commodores cracked into their three-run deficit and produced three runs of their own to put the game at 4-4 with 7 innings to play. Bradfield Jr. and Diaz had RBI’s and Schreck hit his 14th home run of the season (413 feet). 

Vanderbilt and Oregon exchanged scoreless frames in the third and fourth inning. The top of the fifth inning was disappointing for the Commodores as Ginther surrendered a single to Ceballos, which brought Nishida home and Cowley to third base. A few moments later, after Tanner Smith flew out to left field, Drew Smith was walked. With the bases loaded and two outs, Ginther had a chance to end the frame with just one run scored. Ginther was unsuccessful and allowed a double to Jacob Walsh, which brought Drew Smith, Ceballos and Cawley home. Vanderbilt’s bats were unable to do much in the bottom of the fifth inning, with only Noland getting on base.

Greyson Moore took the mound for the Commodores to start the sixth inning. Moore’s confidence was obvious, pitching a pair of one-two-three innings to debut his night. Moore produced scoreless innings in the eighth inning and ninth inning as well. The junior surrendered zero hits and notched 44 strikes on 57 total pitches. 

In the sixth inning, Vanderbilt went scoreless. In the next inning, Austin had a chance to shift the entire game. With a 3-0 count and the bases filled, Oregon’s Matt Dalas was unable to throw a strike and walked Austin to first place. Noland came home and Vanderbilt’s deficit narrowed to three runs. Espinal then was called out at first base after he was unable to leg out an infield single. Vanderbilt trailed Oregon 8-5 with two innings left to play.

Vanderbilt was unable to generate momentum in the eighth inning as no Commodores got on base. The ninth inning was a different story though, as Chris Maldonado hit a two-run homer to bring the game to 8-7 with one out remaining. Troy LaNeve was unable to follow Maldonado and flew out to center field. With just one out remaining, Austin flew out to center field as well.

The VandyBoys will square off with Xavier University at 2:00 p.m. CDT on Sunday, June 4 in the elimination game. The winner of the Vanderbilt-Xavier game will need to beat Oregon twice to move on to the super regional round.

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About the Contributors
Andrew Wilf
Andrew Wilf, Former Sports Editor
Andrew Wilf (’24) is Sports Editor for The Vanderbilt Hustler. He is from Livingston, N.J., and is majoring in history and minoring in business. He joined the sports staff his freshman year, previously serving as a Staff Writer, Assistant Sports Editor and Deputy Sports Editor. Beyond writing for The Hustler, he is also the host of Anchor Analysis, Commodore Clash and Live From West End. In his free time, Andrew enjoys watching the NFL and playing golf. He can be reached 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].
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