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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: VandyBoys take two of three against Gonzaga

The Commodores fell to the Bulldogs on Sunday after an eight-run seventh inning.
Josh Rehders
Vanderbilt does a pregame huddle before their game against Gonzaga, as photographed on Feb. 25, 2024. (Hustler Multimedia/Josh Rehders)

The Vanderbilt Commodores took two of three games against Gonzaga. Stay tuned for live updates here.

Friday, Feb. 23: Vanderbilt 12, Gonzaga 2

Camden Kozeal celebrating with his teammates in Vanderbilt’s game against Gonzaga, as photographed on Feb. 23, 2024. (Hustler Multimedia/Miguel Beristain) (Miguel Beristain)


Vanderbilt captured its fourth win of the season on Friday when it defeated the Gonzaga Bulldogs 12-2. The Commodores had 14 hits, while the Bulldogs had just 5 hits. Jack Bulger and Jayden Davis both had home runs. Carter Holton started for the Commodores and allowed just two hits in five innings pitched.


Tim Corbin

“I thought Holton gave us a chance to win,” Corbin said. “He [Holton] only walked two people. That was clean. We defended the baseball. We just didn’t allow them [Gonzaga] to reach base.”

Top 1: Vanderbilt 0, Gonzaga 0

Carter Holton delivered a 1-2-3 inning. The junior started the inning with two strikeouts.   

Bottom 1: Vanderbilt 0, Gonzaga 0

With a 2-2 count and one out, RJ Austin delivered Vanderbilt its first hit of the day with a single over Georgia’s second baseman. Austin was caught trying to steal second base a few moments later. The inning ended with Alan Espinal striking out swinging with Camden Kozeal on first base.

Top 2: Vanderbilt 0, Gonzaga 2

Holton delivered another inning with two strikeouts. The starting pitcher’s perfect day was squandered when he allowed Gonzaga’s Donovan Ratfield to hit a single over Jonathan Vastine at shortstop. Holton then had a wild pitch, which forced Ratfield to second base. Holton then walked Gonzaga’s two batters. With the bases loaded and two outs, Peyton Miller singled to right field, driving in two Gonzaga runs. The inning ended with Miller being thrown out after a failed attempt at stealing second base

Bottom 2: Vanderbilt 1, Gonzaga 2

The Commodores got on the board when Davis scored his first home run of the season. The solo shot put Vanderbilt down just one point. With two outs, the Commodores had a prime look at scoring again when Chris Maldonado and Jonathan Vastine were at second and third base, respectively. Bulger was unable to bring them home as he struck out swinging to end the inning.

Top 3: Vanderbilt 1, Gonzaga 2

Holton pitched his second 1-2-3 inning of the game. Of his 53 total pitches thus far, Holton has delivered 31 strikes.

Bottom 4: Vanderbilt 5, Gonzaga 2

Davis Diaz was at bat with no outs when runners were on both first and second base. Diaz was walked. With all of Vanderbilt’s bases loaded and no outs, Maldonado was walked and Jayden Davis made it home. 

Vastine hit the ball to the second baseman during the next at-bat. The Gonzaga defender bobbled the ball and was unable to catch Maldonado at second base. Vastine earned an RBI on the play. The Commodores score two more runs in the inning, thanks to a pair of sacrifice flies.   

Bottom 5: Vanderbilt 6, Gonzaga 2

The Commodores scored another run, thanks to a wild pitch that brought Kozeal home from third base. 

Top 6: Vanderbilt 6, Gonzaga 2

After five innings pitched, Holton’s night was over. Holton threw 73 total pitches, 8 strikeouts and 2 hits on Friday evening. He was replaced by Greyson Carter, who started his night with a 1-2-3 sixth inning.  

Bottom 6: Vanderbilt 9, Gonzaga 2

After Vastine flew out to right field, Bulger scored his second home run of the season. Espinal and Davis also had RBIs in the inning. 

Bottom 7: Vanderbilt 9, Gonzaga 2

With a runner on both third and first base, Vincent Tamesvary had a chance to narrow Gonzaga’s deficit. Carter threw a high pitch, which led Josh Hankins to run home from third base. Hankins tried to reach home plate but Espinal tagged the Gonzaga runner and ended the inning.

Bottom 8: Vanderbilt 12, Gonzaga 2

The game ended once the Commodores had a 10-run lead. Vanderbilt scored three runs in the eighth inning. Davis scored and Braden Holcomb hit a 2-run homer.

Saturday, Feb. 24: Vanderbilt 4, Gonzaga 3

Ethan McElvain loads up to pitch, as photographed Feb 24, 2024 (Hustler Multimedia/Harmony Wang)


No. 6 Vanderbilt (5-2)  defeated Gonzaga (0-5) 4-3 on Saturday afternoon to secure the series against the Bulldogs. Vanderbilt trailed for the whole game until the ninth inning, where they had their second walk-off win of the season.


Camden Kozeal

“The strike zone never changes, so [my mindset] was to just get in there and attack fastballs.”

Tim Corbin

Any time we have put [Calvin Hewett] and Jacob Humphrey into the game, those runs have meant something for us whether it’s the first game or today.

Top 1: Vanderbilt 0, Gonzaga 0

Junior Bryce Cunningham was the starter for the VandyBoys and made the first two batters pop-out and strikeout, respectively. Gonzaga’s 3-hitter got a double off the wall in left field, but Cunningham got a strikeout to retire the side. 

Bottom 1: Vanderbilt 0, Gonzaga 0

Despite getting two runners on base quickly, Vanderbilt was unable to capitalize and ended the inning scoreless.

Bottom 2: Vanderbilt 0, Gonzaga 0

At the top of the inning, Cunningham struck the first Gonzaga batter out swinging but then struggled to find the strike zone. Cunningham bounced back to strike the next two batters out, swinging and looking. Vanderbilt went 1-2-3 at the plate at the bottom of the inning.

Top 3: Vanderbilt 0, Gonzaga 3

Gonzaga quickly loaded the bases with no outs due to two walks by Cunningham. A double by Gonzaga’s Donovan Ratfield brought two Gonzaga runners to score the game’s runners. Vanderbilt gained three outs in the next three batters to get out of the frame. 

Top 4: Vanderbilt 0, Gonzaga 3

The VandyBoys were blanked again by the Gonzaga pitching staff at the bottom of the third, going 1-2-3 at the plate. Vanderbilt Freshman Ethan McElvain entered the game, replacing Cunningham on the mound. Cunningham finished the day with seven strikeouts, four walks, and four hits across three innings pitched. The Commodores were able to get through the inning despite an error by Vastine to hold the Gonzaga lead at three.

Bottom 4: Vanderbilt 1, Gonzaga 3

Kozeal started the Commodores at the plate by executing a flawless bunt but was picked off mid-way through the next at-bat. Espinal drew a walk and then advanced to second on a wild pitch. LaNeve hit a double to the right-field corner of the stadium to score Espinal and give the Commodores their first run of the game. 

Bottom 5: Vanderbilt 1, Gonzaga 3

After a solid defense performance by the Commodores, highlighted by two strikeouts by McElvain the Commodores looked to shorten the lead. Gonzaga then made a pitching change, putting in right-hander Erik Hoffberg. The Commodores got two runners on base in Holcomb (walk) and Austin (single) but came up empty-handed after Kozeal grounded out.

Bottom 6: Vanderbilt 1, Gonzaga 3

In the top of the inning, Vanderbilt got out of a bases-loaded situation as McElvain recorded two more strikeouts to extend his game total to six. Espinal started the VandyBoys bats off with a single to the shortstop. The Gonzaga centerfielder, who lost the ball in the sun, let Davis’s pop-fly drop for an unconventional double. But the Commodores left two on base to still trail by two.  

Top 7: Vanderbilt 1, Gonzaga 3

Brennan Seiber entered the game for the Commodores, replacing McElvain. McElvain ended the day with six strikeouts and two walks, allowing one hit across three innings of work. Siber forced the Bulldogs to hit into three outs while walking one who was left on base. 

Bottom 7: Vanderbilt 2, Gonzaga 3

Vanderbilt shortened the Gonzaga lead to one when Austin drove in Vastine, who had previously reached on a single and advanced on a wild pitch. The one run is all the Commodores would get in the inning.

Bottom 8: Vanderbilt 2, Gonzaga 3

At the top of the inning, the Commodore’s defense went to work, recording a double play while Seiber struck a batter out swinging for the third out. Gonzaga was able to hold onto the lead heading into the ninth after the Commodores were unable to get anything going on offense. 

Bottom 9: Vanderbilt 4, Gonzaga 3

In the top of the ninth the Commodores forced the Bulldogs to go 1-2-3. On offense for the Commodores, the tying run in Vastine singled and then advanced to second on a wild pitch. Bulger drove in Vastine to tie the game. Humphrey, who entered as a pinch runner for Bulger, advanced to third off a failed pickoff attempt. After a pitching change by Gonzaga, Kozeal drew in the winning run to walk-off the Bulldogs.

Sunday, Feb. 25: Vanderbilt 8, Gonzaga 9


Tim Corbin

“(the veterans) are going to have to get better. That’s a lot of strain on the young kids, but the young kids have done well. We let Kranzler down obviously. Miller Green did a good job just keeping the game right where it needed to be.”


Vanderbilt lost Game 3 of its weekend series, falling 9-8 to Gonzaga. The Commodores had a good day offensively, getting 12 hits. Vanderbilt was led by Troy LaNeve who went 3-of-5 on the day. However, the Commodores’ relief pitching struggled, allowing eight runs in the seventh inning. 

Top 1: Vanderbilt 0, Gonzaga 1 

After walking the first batter, Futrell gave up a double to Peyton Miller before forcing a ground and fly out. The ground out allowed the Bulldogs to get a run across, but a ground ball hit directly at Jayden Davis ended the inning for the Bulldogs. 

Bottom 1: Vanderbilt 0, Gonzaga 1

Jack Bulger hit a single to begin the inning and Alan Espinal was walked to get players on first and second, but two fly outs and a strikeout left the Commodores scoreless. 

Top 2: Vanderbilt 0, Gonzaga 1

Jordan Hamberg was able to get a single to start the inning. A fly out and a strikeout gave the Bulldogs two outs. A single by Tommy Eisenstat got players on first and second, but a great snag from Diaz stranded two runners for Gonzaga. 

Bottom 2: Vanderbilt 6, Gonzaga 1

Troy LaNeve hit a double to start the inning which was followed by another double from Davis Diaz to get runners at second and third. Gonzaga starting pitcher Liam O’Brien then walked Braden Holcomb to load the bases for the Commodores. O’Brien proceeded to walk Jonathan Vastine which pushed a run across for Vanderbilt.

A double by Bulger to center field gave the Commodores two more runs, but he limped off the field as Calvin Hewett came into the game as a pinch runner. The Bulldogs opted to change pitchers, replacing O’Brien with Michael Cunneely when the Commodores had players on second and third with no outs. A sacrifice fly brought Vastine home and a ground out from Kozeal gave Vanderbilt another run. An infield single and a double from Jayden Davis brought another run home as the Commodores took a commanding lead going into the third inning. 

Top 4: Vanderbilt 6, Gonzaga 1

Hamberg was hit by a pitch to start the inning, but a fly out and strikeout finished the frame for Gonzaga. 

Bottom 4: Vanderbilt 7, Gonzaga 1 

The Bulldogs elected to change pitchers again, replacing Cunneely with Kai Francis. Francis walked Espinal and Davis to get players on first and second with two outs. A base hit by LaNeve brought home Espinal to extend the Commodores’ lead. 

Bottom 5: Vanderbilt 7, Gonzaga 1

Holcomb struck out to begin the inning but Vastine was able to get a double off Payton Graham. Hewett grounded out while Austin flew out to end the inning. 

Top 6: Vanderbilt 7, Gonzaga 1

After five innings pitched, Futrell’s day was over. He threw 91 pitches, allowing three hits and one run while striking out three batters. Sam Hliboki took to the mound in relief, but gave up a double against his first batter. However, Hliboki was able to strand the one runner on base after striking out his last two batters. 

Top 7: Vanderbilt 7, Gonzaga 9

Gonzaga was able to hit its stride offensively in the seventh inning and was helped by some fielding errors from Vanderbilt. Miller singled to left field before Griggs flew out to center field. Tim Corbin & Co. decided to bench Hliboki for Alex Kranzler.

Hliboki pitched an inning and a third, allowing five hits and three runs. Following the pitching change, Gonzaga scored three runs. Two consecutive defensive errors for Vanderbilt scored another run for the Bulldogs as they had the bases loaded with one out. A grand slam by Hamberg vaulted the Bulldogs in front, and Vanderbilt opted to take out Kranzler and put in Miller Green. Green forced two ground outs to finish the inning.  

Bottom 7: Vanderbilt 7, Gonzaga 9

A double by LaNeve started the inning and Diaz was hit by a pitch in the next at-bat. Matt Ossenfort came into pinch hit for Holcomb but allowed a double play as he grounded one to the first baseman. Vastine was struck out looking, ending the inning. 

Bottom 8: Vanderbilt 7, Gonzaga 9

Gonzaga delivered a 1-2-3 inning to keep the Commodores behind by two runs.

Bottom 9: Vanderbilt 8, Gonzaga 9

A double by Espinal and a single by Davis put players on first and third. A ground ball by LaNeve forced an out at second but brought a runner home. Gonzaga was unable to make the throw to first in time, leaving LaNeve on base with one out. A single by Jacob Humphreys put runners on first and second with two outs. In the end, Vastine was struck out looking to finish the game. 

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About the Contributors
Andrew Wilf
Andrew Wilf, 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].
Grace Hall
Grace Hall, Assistant Sports Specialist
Grace Hall (‘26) is from Belfast, Maine, and is majoring in public policy studies in the College of Arts and Science. Grace is also the vice-president of the Vanderbilt Club Field Hockey Team. When not writing for The Hustler you can find her watching the Boston Red Sox or Celtics, reading or at a concert. You can reach her at [email protected].
Henry Oelhafen
Henry Oelhafen, Sports Copy Editor
Henry Oelhafen (‘26) is a student in Peabody College majoring in human and organizational development and minoring in business. Henry grew up as a Vanderbilt sports fan and loves to talk about both professional and amateur golf. In addition to writing, he loves to play golf with friends, hike and try new restaurants. He can be reached at [email protected].
Harmony Wang
Harmony Wang, Staff Photographer
Harmony Wang (’26) is from Taipei, Taiwan, and studies political science and human and organizational development at Peabody College. When not shooting for The Hustler or freelance work, you can find her in the gym, spending time in nature and running to get her third coffee of the day. She can be reached at [email protected].
Miguel Beristain
Miguel Beristain, Senior Staff Photographer
Miguel Beristain (’24) is a philosophy and cellular and molecular biology double major in the College of Arts and Science from Murfreesboro, Tennessee. When not shooting for The Hustler, he can usually be found playing Magic the Gathering, exploring new restaurants or practicing guitar. He can be reached at .
Josh Rehders
Josh Rehders, Photography Director
Josh Rehders ('24) is from Houston and is studying computer science in the School of Engineering. When he is not shooting for The Hustler, Vanderbilt Athletics or freelancing, he enjoys finding new music and good food. He can be reached at [email protected].
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