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.

VandyBoys avoid upset, defeat Tennessee Tech 8-7 in extra innings

Thanks to RJ Austin being hit-by-pitch in the 11th inning, Vanderbilt ended its losing streak.
Josh Rehders
RJ Austin is hit by a pitch to walk off Vanderbilt’s game against Tennessee Tech, as photographed on April 30, 2024. (Hustler Multimedia/Josh Rehders)

Following a heartbreaking loss to Mississippi State on Sunday, the Vanderbilt Commodores (32-13) got back in the win column when they defeated Tennessee Tech 8-7 on Tuesday evening.

“We didn’t pitch particularly well from the start to deep into the ballgame,” head coach Tim Corbin said. 

JD Thompson started the evening by delivering two consecutive strikeouts. The sophomore allowed both a double and a single, putting Tennessee Tech on the board first. Thompson would pitch one more inning, which ended in no damage. Sam Hliboki substituted the sophomore before the third inning. Thompson threw 25 strikes and 5 strikeouts on 36 total pitches.

Thompson cleaned up the Golden Eagles in both the third and fourth innings. Thompson faced Theo Bryant IV with the bases loaded and two outs. Thompson relieved Vanderbilt fans at Hawkins Field when he forced Bryant IV to fly out. 

Going into the fourth inning, Vanderbilt had only connected on two hits. The fourth quarter was poised to be different though, especially after Troy LaNeve reached first base off of a Tennessee Tech error. Unfortunately for Vanderbilt, Matthew Polk hit a line drive to the Tennesee Tech shortstop, who catapulted a double play to retire the inning.

After Thompson pitched two innings, his clean night concluded when Ryan Ginther came in. 

Ginther, a junior from Hendersonville, Tenn., struggled to find his footing in the fifth inning. The lefty walked his first batter faced. Ginther then allowed a single, which put runners on first and second base with no outs. Tanner Shiver then sacrifice bunted, which put the Golden Eagles in scoring position. Ginther then struck out his next batter faced.

Ginther’s next batter he would face was Mack Whitcomb, a freshman from Mokena, Ill. With an 0-2 count, Whitcomb silenced the Commodore faithful when he hit a 3-run homer to put Tennesee Tech up 4-0. The bleeding stopped soon after when Ginther forced his next batter to ground out.

The Vanderbilt offense woke up in the fifth inning. With a full count and two outs, Davis Diaz was eager to get the Commodores on the scoreboard. Diaz delivered, nothing a line drive to the shortstop. The shortstop was unable to reach first base as Braden Holcomb came home from third base. RJ Austin was then walked and Vanderbilt had the bases filled. Alan Espinal was unable to build off of the momentum in Hawkins Field when he hit a fly out to center field.  

The sixth inning would feature Vanderbilt pitcher David Horn Jr. In the inning, Horn Jr. hit two batters and walked one batter. With the bases loaded and two outs, Horn Jr. was unable to prevent more damage. Shiver doubled to right field, which brought two runners home for Tennesee Tech.

Horn Jr. then walked his third batter for the night. His night concluded as Corbin substituted Luke Guth into the game. Guth quickly concluded the inning, thanks to forcing a fly out. Vanderbilt trailed 6-1. Tennessee Tech would deliver a 1-2-3 period in the bottom of the sixth inning.

After walking one batter, Guth took care of his next three batters faced.

After the seventh inning stretch, the Vanderbilt offense came alive. Bulger scored an RBI single and RJ Austin hit a 3-run homer. A few moments later, the Commodores had runners on all bases with one out down. 

Then, a few moments later, the Commodores had a prime opportunity to earn their first lead of the night when the bases were loaded with one out. Trailing Tennesee Tech 6-5, Colin Barczi reached on a fielder’s choice which allowed Espinal to score. Then, the shortstop overthrew the first basemen, and LaNeve came home from third base. Vanderbilt took its 7-6 lead into the eighth inning.

In the top of the eighth inning, Greyson Carter executed a near-flawless inning. He allowed just one single.

The Commodore offense was unable to build off its six-run seventh inning with any runs in the penultimate inning.

Carter easily handled his first two batters. With two outs, Whitcomb silenced Hawkins Field when he converted on a solo shot to send the game to extra innings. 

Both Vanderbilt and Tennesee Tech went scoreless in the 10th inning.

Carter allowed no hits in the top of the 11th.

With Jack Bulger on third base, Jonathan Vastine on second base and Davis Diaz on first base, RJ Austin was poised to deliver Vanderbilt with a victory. With a 3-2 count and no outs, Austin was hit by the pitcher. The walk brought home Bulger, which ended the game.

“I’ve never been hit by a pitch to be walked off,” Austin said.

The VandyBoys will next play the No. 19 Georgia Bulldogs at 5 p.m. CDT on Friday.

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About the Contributors
Andrew Wilf
Andrew Wilf, Former 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].
Josh Rehders
Josh Rehders, Former 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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