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.

Vanderbilt’s bats come alive, ‘Dores down Indiana State 20-4 in seven innings

The Commodores scored in every inning of an explosive offensive performance to take down the undefeated Sycamores.
Harmony Wang
Jonathan Vastine takes third base, as photographed on Feb. 27, 2023. (Hustler Multimedia/Harmony Wang)

Following a series win over the Gonzaga Bulldogs last weekend, No. 9 Vanderbilt earned its sixth win of the season via the ten-run rule with an impressive 20-4 victory over Indiana State in seven innings. The Sycamores came into Tuesday evening’s matchup undefeated at 7-0, but were overwhelmed by a Vanderbilt offense that plated 12 runs in the game’s first four innings and saw every starter reach base and score at least one run.

“We just did a goob job early in the game and created some momentum for ourselves,” head coach Tim Corbin said. “JD Thompson contained them well and I thought we were aggressive from an offensive standpoint.”

On offense, Vanderbilt was able to win with a balanced attack that produced 17 hits (6 XBH) and four players totaling three or more runs batted in. The stars of the show were freshman Cam Kozeal (4-for-5, HR, 5 RBI) and transfer Jacob Humphrey (2-for-2, 3B, HR), both of which played the best games of their young Vanderbilt careers. 

JD Thompson was given the nod on the mound for the Commodores, and produced a strong outing apart from giving up a three-run fourth inning to the Sycamores. Thompson finished with four earned runs and five strikeouts in six innings pitched before Andrew Dutkanych IV closed out Indiana State with a perfect seventh inning. 

It was the Humphrey show early at Hawkins Field, as the junior transfer provided highlights on both sides of the ball to give the Commodores a first-inning lead. After Indiana State’s Luis Hernandez ripped a would-be extra-base hit into right field in the top of the inning, Humphrey sprinted to his left and made one of Vanderbilt’s best defensive plays of the season. 

Following a forced groundout by Thompson to end the top of the first, Humphrey led off for the Commodores and smashed the second pitch he saw into left field for a solo home run. Feeding off of the energy given by their right fielder, the Commodores were able to double their lead as Kozeal smacked an RBI single into right field to drive home RJ Austin. The 2-0 lead would hold there, as the Commodores left the bases loaded following a groundout from Troy LaNeve to end the inning. 

Small ball in the second inning helped Vanderbilt extend its lead to three. Following a 1-2-3 inning from Thompson, a wind-aided double from Jonathan Vastine off the left field wall marked a strong start to the inning for the Commodores. After a sacrifice bunt from Humphrey to move Vastine to third base, an RBI groundout from Austin gave Vanderbilt a 3-0 lead heading into the third inning. 

The runs kept pouring in for the Commodores in the third. After Diaz reached on an error, he was brought home by an opposite-field two-run home run by LaNeve to put Vanderbilt on top, 5-0. With the bases loaded and one out later in the frame, another RBI groundout from Austin drove Vanderbilt’s sixth run of the game home. The inning would not end there, though, as Kozeal stepped to the plate and launched his first career home run to plate three more runs and put the Commodores up 9-0. 

After a dominant first three innings, Thompson ran into trouble in a productive fourth inning for the Sycamores. After giving up a single and double early in the inning, Thompson was able to secure two outs, but a three-run home run from Indiana State’s Mike Sears cleared the bases and cut Vanderbilt’s lead to 9-3. 

Once again, Humphrey delivered. After Vanderbilt loaded the bases in the bottom of the inning following a Vastine walk with two outs, the right fielder laced a ball into left-center field to clear the bases with a 3-RBI triple. Austin was caught stealing to close the fourth inning shortly after, but the Commodores pushed their lead back out to nine with another inning filled with offense.

The sides scored one-run apiece in the fifth inning, as a Sycamores’ RBI-double was nullified by a Diaz double into left that brought home Alan Espinal. Vanderbilt’s bats came alive once again in the bottom of the sixth, as Austin brought home two more with a single into center field. Three RBI-singles from Kozeal, LaNeve and Hewett along with a Diaz’ sacrifice fly extended Vanderbilt’s lead to 20-4, where it would stay.

Vanderbilt will be back in action tomorrow at home against Evansville at 4:30 p.m. CST.

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About the Contributors
Anish Mago
Anish Mago, Deputy Sports Editor
Anish Mago ('24) is from West Windsor, N.J., and is studying economics and political science in the College of Arts and Science. He previously served as a staff writer for the Sports section. When not writing for The Hustler, Anish enjoys playing basketball and rooting for all Philly sports. He can be reached at .
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].
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