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 fall 2-1 to Xavier, eliminated from NCAA Regional

The VandyBoys’ season ended Sunday in a 2-1 loss to Xavier despite an excellent pitching effort by Sam Hliboki.
Tim+Corbin+the+Vanderbilt+dugout+after+the+loss+on+Sunday+%28Hustler+Multimedia%2FBarrie+Barto%29.
Barrie Barto
Tim Corbin the Vanderbilt dugout after the loss on Sunday (Hustler Multimedia/Barrie Barto).

In a true pitchers’ duel interrupted by a four-hour weather delay, the No. 6 Vanderbilt Commodores were eliminated after a 2-1 defeat at the hands of the Xavier Musketeers on Sunday. Despite solid pitching from Sam Hliboki and Patrick Reilly, the Commodore offense came up short in the season-ending loss.

Right-hander Hliboki (ND, 3-3) took the mound for Vanderbilt against Xavier righty Luke Hoskins (W, 7-2). Vanderbilt was the official visiting team despite being at Hawkins Field.

In the top of the first, RJ Schreck drew a two-out walk and Parker Noland hit a chopper off the turf for an infield single, but a Chris Maldonado popout ended the inning.

The Commodores got on the scoreboard in the third as Jonathan Vastine hit a leadoff double down the right-field line that hit off the glove of the Xavier first baseman. Davis Diaz plated the run with a shot down the left-field line and reached second on the throw home. Schreck followed with another walk. However, Parker Noland hit into a double play to get Hoskins out of the jam with just a 1-0 deficit.

Davis Diaz standing on second base on June 4, 2023 (Hustler Multimedia/Barrie Barto).
Davis Diaz standing on second base on June 4, 2023. (Hustler Multimedia/Barrie Barto)

The Musketeers threatened for the first time in the bottom of the fourth. With two outs, Matt McCormick and Garrett Schultz hit back-to-back singles. Schultz’s hit nearly went into the gap, but a nice play by Enrique Bradfield Jr. likely saved a run and kept the Commodores ahead.

In the bottom of the sixth, a hit-by-pitch and a single eventually put runners on the corners with one out for Xavier. Tim Corbin then made the switch to take out Hliboki and bring in Reilly. McCormick managed a sacrifice fly to left field to score the run from third and tie the game 1-1.

Hliboki’s deep start was essential to keep Vanderbilt alive. The senior was efficient all game, pitching to contact while keeping his pitch count down to just 61, ultimately going for 5.1 innings, allowing just 4 hits, no walks and just 1 earned run in absentia.

Xavier opened the bottom of the seventh with a base hit by Schultz. After one phenomenal play by Vastine and RJ Austin got the first out, Xavier loaded the bases on a single and an error by Austin. The rare Austin error was especially costly, as it likely would have been an inning-ending double play had he fielded the ball cleanly. Reilly got a strikeout but then hit the next batter to drive in a run and give the Musketeers a 2-1 lead.

The eighth inning was scoreless, setting up a top of the ninth inning with Schreck, Noland and Maldonado due up with the season on the line. However, the dramatic conclusion would have to wait through a lightning delay that lasted over four hours despite no rain.

Xavier closer Justin Loer, who pitched the scoreless eighth, remained in the game after the delay. His slider remained sharp. After a Schreck flyout, Noland struck out to leave the game to the freshman Maldonado. Unfortunately for Vanderbilt, Maldonado grounded out to end the game.

While the seventh-inning miscues and the lightning delay were less than ideal, the real demise for Vanderbilt was an offense that had no answers. The Commodores recorded just four hits and two walks in the game. Key lineup pieces including Bradfield Jr., Maldonado and Austin finished hitless.

Vanderbilt’s 2023 season ends with an overall record of 42-20, and it marks the second consecutive year in which the VandyBoys failed to make the Super Regional round.

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About the Contributors
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].
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