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 defeats Florida 5-2, secures series victory

After winning the first game of the series 10-5 on Thursday, impressive pitching pushed Vanderbilt to a series-clinching win.
Alondra Moya
Carter Holton delivers a pitch against Florida, as photographed on April 19, 2024. (Hustler Multimedia/Alondra Moya)

After claiming the first game in the series, No. 13 Vanderbilt (29-10) won its 17th home game in a row to secure the series win over Florida.

Carter Holton got the nod for Friday’s matchup against Florida, hoping to bounce back from a poor showing against Texas A&M last weekend where he was pulled in the third inning after allowing six earned runs. Holton did just that, only allowing two earned runs over seven innings.

“It was [about] getting off on the right foot,” Holton said. “Especially in the first inning getting three up, three down.”

Florida’s Ty Evans made contact with the first pitch of the game, but Davis Diaz made an easy throw to first for the out. First baseman Jac Caglianone made contact as well, but was thrown out at first by Jayden Davis. Holton struck out the third batter to retire the side.

Jonathan Vastine led off for Vanderbilt and sent a line drive down the middle for a base hit. Vastine then stole second, but RJ Austin sent a pop-up to center field the next pitch. Diaz reached first after getting grazed. Davis drove Vastine and Diaz in with a ground rule double to make it 2-0 Vanderbilt. Braden Holcomb hit into a double play to end the inning.

Holton made quick work of Florida to open the second, striking out two. After Matthew Polk sent an easy pop-up to left field, Troy LaNeve hit to right for a double. Florida replaced LHP Pierce Coppola with RHP Liam Petersen after Coppola walked Vastine. However, Vanderbilt failed to extend their lead after Austin left both Laneve and Vastine stranded.

Holton seemed untouchable in the third, tallying another two strikeouts without letting a man on base. After a failed bunt attempt by Diaz, Alan Espinal hit a solo shot to center field to make it 3-0 Vanderbilt. Davis hit a double next, but Holcomb and Polk were retired consecutively.

Florida went scoreless yet again to start the fourth. Vanderbilt did not fare any better, as three Commodores reached base off walks but were ultimately stranded after Espinal struck out with the bases loaded.

After 4.1 hitless innings, catcher Luke Heyman was the first to reach base. However, the Gators still failed to capitalize. 

After taking the mound to kick off the bottom of the fifth, Petersen had to leave the game after taking a sizzling line drive to the ribs off of Holcomb’s bat. Petersen made the shovel to first, but stumbled off the field to be replaced by RHP Ryan Slater. After the change, Polk sent a laser down the third base line to reach second, but LaNeve grounded out the next at-bat to end the inning.

Brody Donay hit a solo homerun to center field to put Florida on the board. Caglianone tacked on another with a homerun of his own just two batters after. Luckily, Holton struck out Colby Shelton to escape with a 3-2 lead. The Commodores went scoreless yet again to close out the sixth. Freshman Colin Barczi picked up his third hit of the season but was thrown out at second in a fielder’s choice. Diaz struck out to end the inning.

Holton had a stronger showing in the seventh, throwing whiff after whiff and tacking on two more strikeouts to bring his total on the game to 10. A wild pitch prompted a mound visit, but Holton ultimately threw another scoreless frame. A Davis single prompted a pitching change by Florida, with Luke McNeillie coming in to replace Slater. Holcomb hit into a double play to end another scoreless inning.

Holton was replaced in the eighth by LHP Ryan Ginther who came out guns-a-blazing, retiring three in a row and striking two out swinging. The Commodores had one last chance to extend their advantage.

Polk started off the inning by taking a 94 MPH fastball to the shoulder. A LaNeve ground rule double put Polk on third before Barczi sacrificed himself to bring Polk home. Austin singled to drive Jacob Humphrey, pinch-running for LaNeve, in for a run. This gave Vanderbilt a three-run cushion to breathe. To add insult to injury, Austin noticed Florida’s defense fell asleep after his single. Quickly, he made a break for second. The pitcher McNeillie noticed Austin’s attempt to steal but misfired his throw. The ball went into the outfield and allowed Austin to advance to third. McNeillie was promptly replaced by RHP Fisher Jameson. Jameson was able to stop the bleeding at 5-2 and Florida would get one last chance to be on the offensive.

RHP Greysen Carter came in for Ginther to shut the door on the Gators. In just three batters, Carter sealed the victory and, in turn, the series. 

The VandyBoys will be back in action tomorrow for a final game against Florida. First pitch is at 2 p.m. CDT.

Leave a comment
About the Contributors
Vincent Xu
Vincent Xu, Sports Copy Editor
Vincent Xu (‘27) is planning on majoring in economics with a minor in data science in the College of Arts and Science. Outside of The Hustler, Vincent enjoys playing sports, watching sports, talking sports and a couple of other things that are sadly unrelated to sports. He can be reached at [email protected].
Alondra Moya
Alondra Moya, Staff Photographer
Alondra Moya (‘26) is majoring in child development in Peabody College. When not shooting for The Hustler, you can find her spending time outside, at the gym or watching stand-up comedy. You can reach her at [email protected].
More to Discover

Comments (0)

The Vanderbilt Hustler welcomes and encourages readers to engage with content and express opinions through the comment sections on our website and social media platforms. The Hustler reserves the right to remove comments that contain vulgarity, hate speech, personal attacks or that appear to be spam, commercial promotion or impersonation. The comment sections are moderated by our Editor-in-Chief, Rachael Perrotta, and our Social Media Director, Chloe Postlewaite. You can reach them at [email protected] and [email protected].
All The Vanderbilt Hustler picks Reader picks Sort: Newest
Notify of
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments