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.

Offensive explosion leads Vanderbilt past Middle Tennessee, 14-1

The Commodores scored 13 runs in the first three innings to fly by the Blue Raiders on Tuesday.
Chloe Pryor
Vandyboys celebrating at the dugout, as photographed on March 29, 2023.(Hustler Multimedia/Chloe Pryor)

Following an away weekend series win at LSU, No. 6 Vanderbilt came back home on Tuesday and dominated the Middle Tennessee Blue Raiders, 14-1, in a midweek matchup. The Commodores utilized an explosive seven-run first inning to jump in front of the Blue Raiders and never relented in an impressive performance. Vanderbilt’s lead jumped to double digits in the bottom of the third inning and would remain until the game was called after seven due to the run rule.

All but two of Vanderbilt’s nine starters scored a run in a game where the Commodores’ offense amassed 14 hits. Freshman Braden Holcomb earned another start and impressed once again, finishing 2-for-4 with 3 RBI’s. Alan Espinal (3-for-3, 2B) and Jonathan Vastine (2-for-3, 2 RBI) added strong contributions as well on a night where Vanderbilt plated 14 runs in just seven innings.

“The hitting was good; I thought we were really aggressive for a Tuesday, which is good to see,” head coach Tim Corbin said after the game.

In part due to Vanderbilt’s early dominance, starter JD Thompson was pulled after just one inning of work, in which he struck out all three batters he faced. The Commodores were able to rotate through a platoon of mostly underclassmen arms, including Alex Kranzler, Luke Guth, Levi Huesman and Ryan Ginther, who allowed just four hits in an impressive collective performance.

Following a perfect top of the first from Thompson, Vanderbilt immediately took charge of Tuesday evening’s matchup with a seven-run bottom of the inning that saw the Commodores cycle through 13 batters. The onslaught was started by Davis Diaz, who ripped a 2-RBI double off the top of the left field wall to begin a dominant performance from Vanderbilt’s lineup.

Middle Tennessee starter Kota Sato was able to force a ground ball to Vanderbilt’s next batter, Braden Holcomb, but a dropped ball from first baseman Trace Phillips allowed Jayden Davis to score from third without the Blue Raiders recording an out. 

Now up three with just one out, the Commodores continued to pile it on in the bottom of the first, with Logan Poteet poking an RBI-single into left, Vastine bringing another Commodore home with a walk and RJ Austin adding a 2-RBI single in his second at-bat of the inning. By the time Davis popped out to end the inning, the Commodores were leading 7-0. 

Seeing his team up seven runs, Corbin elected to pull Thompson after just one inning and replaced him with Kranzler. The freshman ran into trouble early, though, as Middle Tennessee’s Cale Vinson launched a solo shot to cut Vanderbilt’s lead to six. 

Kranzler was able to evade the rest of the top of the second inning unscathed and was given extra run support in the bottom of the inning as the Commodores tacked on three more runs. Poteet and Vastine both earned their second RBI’s of the game before a sacrifice fly from Austin pushed the Commodores to double digits. 

After another scoreless frame from Kranzler, Vanderbilt added three more runs in the bottom of the third. First, it was Holcomb, who ripped a single into left to bring home Davis and Espinal, who doubled to start the inning. Calvin Hewett extended Vanderbilt’s lead to twelve heading into the fourth as he reached on an RBI groundout.

Now up 13-1, Corbin turned to a combination of underclassmen arms to see out the rest of the game. As Vanderbilt’s bats went cold in the fourth and fifth innings, it was the freshman Guth, making his first collegiate appearance, and Huesman who kept Middle Tennessee’s bats quiet. Huesman came out for the sixth inning and ran into a bit of trouble, but a web gem from Davis at second base ended the inning without damage.

Vanderbilt added another run in the bottom of the sixth with a sacrifice fly from Matthew Polk before Ginther shut the door on the Blue Raiders in the top of the seventh. 

The Commodores will look to extend their win streak to four in the first game of their weekend series at No. 3 Texas A&M on Friday, April 12 at 6:00 p.m. CDT.

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About the Contributors
Anish Mago
Anish Mago, Former 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 .
Chloe Pryor
Chloe Pryor, Staff Writer and Photographer
Chloe Pryor (‘26) is from Fort Smith, Ark., and is double majoring in psychology and communications studies. When not writing for The Hustler, you can fund her reading, drawing or running late for class. You can reach her at [email protected].
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