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 falls to Florida in series finale

Starting pitcher JD Thompson was ejected for using a foreign substance, while the offense was unable to match Florida’s.
Ophelia Lu
Vanderbilt’s Jonathan Vastine runs after hitting the ball. As photographed on April 20, 2024. (Hustler Multimedia/Ophelia Lu)

The VandyBoys (29-11, 10-8) fell just short of the sweep, dropping the closing game against Florida (20-19, 8-10) 6-2.

JD Thompson, the starting pitcher for the Commodores, left the game midway through the fourth inning, as he was allegedly caught using foreign substances to aid his pitching. Florida head coach Kevin O’Sullivan urged the umpires to check Thompson. 

“[The umpires] said there was a foreign substance on his arm…the Florida coaches called for [Thompson to be checked]…they had to call the SEC office to get an interpretation of the rule to begin with.”

Both Thompson and Florida two-way phenom Jac Caglianone were dealing in the early part of the game, leaving the score tied at 0 after the first two and a half innings. 

The VandyBoys were the first to strike in the third inning. Colin Barczi led off the inning with a ground ball down the first base line that just bled past the diving Luke Heyman at first base for a double. Jonathan Vastine extended the offense with a line drive single to center field, advancing Barczi to first. This put runners on the corners for RJ Austin with no outs. Unfortunately for the Commodores, Vastine would be caught stealing right before Austin struck out, leaving just Barci on third with two outs. Davis Diaz would walk and steal second, with an Alan Espinal double down the left field, bringing Barczi and Diaz in to score. Vanderbilt led 2-0 a third of the way through the game.

It didn’t take long for Florida to answer right back. Colby Shelton led off the inning with a double of his own, and then, after Thompson recorded two straight strikeouts, Cade Kurland was down 0-2. Kirkland would rope the 0-2 pitch into the right-center gap, one hopping the wall and sending Shelton to score. 

Colin Russell was the next to bat. Thompson worked the count to 3-2 before play stopped. Home plate umpire Brandon Cooper walked toward the Florida dugout before meeting Thompson on the mound. After roughly ten minutes of deliberation, Thompson walked off the field and into the dugout, being cited with the use of foreign substances. Thompson finished the game with 3.2 innings pitched, 4 hits, 1 earned run, 2 walks, and 6 strikeouts in 62 pitches.

Ethan McElvain would come out to replace Thompson but didn’t even get past warmups before calling the trainer over and walking off the field, leaving Luke Guth to come in relief. After finishing Russell’s at-bat with a walk, Guth would strike out the next batter on three pitches to end the inning with the VandyBoys up 2-1.

In the fifth inning, Florida would continue to add. Guth hit Jaylen Guy with the first pitch of the inning, forced a fly out, walked Jac Caglione and then forced another flyout to right, sending Guy to third. This sent Tyler Shelnut to the plate with runners on the corners and two outs. Guth worked the count to 0-2 and on the third pitch of the at-bat, Shelnut sent the ball flying deep into left and over the wall for a three-run home run, giving Florida a 4-2 lead.

Jac Caglione would shut down the Commodores in the bottom of the fifth, where his day would end. In 100 pitches, Caglione pitched 5 innings with 6 hits, 2 earned runs, 5 strikeouts, and three walks. But even though Caglione’s day on the mound was over, he’d remain in the lineup as the DH.

Caglione was replaced by Cade Fisher, who gave up two walks and recorded a hit by pitch in two-thirds of an inning. Fisher Jameson would enter the game with the bases loaded and in one pitch, forced Austin to ground out to shortstop to end the inning. Vandy came up empty in the sixth.

The seventh and eighth innings went quickly for both sides. Ryan Ginther replaced Seiber on the mound, who held Florida by allowing his defense to work behind him to gain outs. Both sides were unable to collect any runs across the two innings.

The ninth inning saw the appearance of junior right-hander Greysen Carter for his third appearance in as many games as a closer. Carter ended up having a quick outing, allowing Florida to get two runs on two hits while intentionally walking Caglianone. Carter was replaced by David Horn Jr., who entered the game with two outs and a runner on second base. Horn walked the first batter in Heyman but got out of the jam, earning a strikeout on Kurland.

Vanderbilt entered the bottom of the ninth inning, trailing by four runs with the top of their lineup due up. In the bottom of the ninth, Vanderbilt went three up, three down. Vastine struck out swinging, Austin flew out, and Diaz struck out.

“[Our offense] was not really responsive [today]. We had an opportunity in the fifth and sixth. But when Jameson came in, we didn’t have an answer for him.”

Vanderbilt will return to The Hawk on Tuesday, April 20th, to face UT Martin. The first pitch is at 6 p.m. CDT.

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About the Contributors
Connor Campbell
Connor Campbell, Senior Staff Writer
Connor Campbell ('25) is a human and organizational development and cinema and media arts major from Staten Island, N.Y. Connor shares a strong love for both sports and film, leading to his interest in "The Ringer" and, consequently, his casual and quippy style of writing. Outside of The Hustler, Connor does freelance photography, runs the social media accounts for Vanderbilt Club Hockey and is the president of Vanderbilt Tap That. You can reach him at [email protected].
Grace Hall
Grace Hall, Deputy Sports Editor
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].
Ophelia Lu
Ophelia Lu, Deputy Photography Editor
Ophelia Lu (’26) is from Los Angeles and is double majoring in biomedical and electrical engineering in the School of Engineering. She previously served as a staff photographer. When not covering events and sports games for The Hustler, you can find her listening to a lot of music, studying at Starbucks or lying on Alumni lawn. She can be reached at [email protected].
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