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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.

Baseball: Vanderbilt finishes season, loses to High Point in NCAA Regional elimination game

The Commodores’ pitching staff failed to contain High Point’s offense.
Barrie Barto
Tim Corbin sits in the dugout, as photographed on June 1, 2024. (Hustler Multimedia/Barrie Barto)

After No. 2 seed Vanderbilt fell to No. 3 seed Coastal Carolina in Game 1 of its NCAA Regional hosted by Clemson, the Commodores fell to No. 4 seed High Point, 10-9, on Saturday. Vanderbilt couldn’t contain High Point’s offense, giving up 10 hits. 

“We didn’t deserve to win that game,” head coach Tim Corbin said. “We can’t play that way on that side of the ball and expect to win. From a pitching and defensive standpoint, it just wasn’t good enough.”

Bryce Cunningham drew the start for Vanderbilt on the mound, giving up four hits and four earned runs while striking out just two.

The Commodores immediately threatened in the top of the first inning as RJ Austin hit a single into the left field gap with no outs. After a flyout by Matthew Polk, Alan Espinal was walked, putting runners on first and second. After a double steal by the runners, Jayden Davis hit a hard ball to the third baseman, who bobbled it, sending a run home. The Commodores had struck first and looked to retain their lead. 

Cunningham immediately faced trouble in the bottom of the first as High Point hit a single with no outs. Espinal was replaced by Jack Bulger at catcher after the senior was seen limping on the basepaths after his walk in the top of the inning. A perfectly laid down bunt put runners on first and second for the Panthers, but Cunningham kept his composure and followed it up with a strikeout. A double play finished the inning as the Commodores led, 1-0.

It was a quick second inning for both teams. Vanderbilt went down in order while High Point hit into another double play to end the bottom half of the inning. 

The Commodore offense couldn’t get anything going in the top of the third, as RJ Austin was caught trying to stretch a single into a double. A walk with two outs put a runner on first, but a groundout finished the top of the inning. In the bottom of the inning, High Point had a man on first after an error by Davis at second base, but the runner was later caught stealing by Bulger.  A flyout ended the threat for the Panthers. 

In the top of the fourth, Davis hit a single which was followed by a home run from Colin Barczi to give Vanderbilt a 3-0 lead. Hewett reached on a single up the middle and stole second base. An RBI double by Austin pushed another run across for Vanderbilt as it took a 4-0 lead heading into the bottom of the fourth. High Point’s Peyton Carr hit into a double play to end the inning, the Panthers’ third of the game. 

Braden Holcomb hit a double with one out in the top of the fifth, and Davis followed it up with an RBI single to bring in another run and give Vanderbilt a 5-0 lead. A double play ended the top half of the inning and Cunningham responded with a quick 1-2-3 inning in the bottom half. 

The Commodores went down in order in the top of the sixth but Cunningham walked back-to-back batters to begin the bottom of the inning. Two RBI singles got runs across for High Point and Corbin opted to change pitchers. Cunningham was replaced by Brennan Seiber after giving up two earned runs. In Seiber’s first at-bat, High Point’s Adam Stuart launched a 3-run blast to center field and tied the game at five-apiece.

Austin singled to begin the seventh, but the Commodores were unable to push any runs across. The bottom of the seventh inning posed serious issues for Vanderbilt. The Commodores used three different pitchers and gave up four runs before getting out of the inning. Seiber gave up a double and a walk with no outs. Corbin once again changed pitchers, replacing Seiber with left-hander Miller Green. Green proceeded to walk his first batter and then give up a two-run double as High Point took a 7-5 lead. Corbin took Green out and put in left-hander Ryan Ginther with the bases loaded to try and get out of the jam. A two-run hit put the Panthers up 9-5 heading into the eighth.

“It was just self-induced bases,” Corbin said of the sixth and seventh innings. “There were moments where it was probably high temperature for the kids. It was tough sledding and they [High Point] took advantage of it.”

Vanderbilt’s offense knew what it need to do if it wanted to extend its season: wake up. It did just that, storming back to tie the game. The Commodores started the eighth with a walk and two singles to load the bases. An error at third base and a double by Austin, his fifth hit of the game, pushed three runs home. A final single by Bulger put the tying run on the board.   

Vanderbilt had found new life late in the game. Corbin went to veteran pitcher Carter Holton to finish the game out. After putting runners on second and third, Holton struck out the final two batters to keep the game tied, 9-9. 

In the top of the ninth, Vanderbilt threatened with an early walk, but a strikeout and a flyout ended its hopes of taking a lead heading to the bottom of the ninth.  

An early error by Austin at shortstop put a runner on second base, and a groundout later advanced him to third. Holton walked the next batter he faced before High Point’s Miggy Echazarreta ripped a game-ending single to right field to make the final score 10-9. With the loss, the Commodores’ season officially came to an end. This summer will be one of reflection for Vanderbilt Baseball, as Corbin will likely search for help on both the mound and at the plate in the transfer portal.

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About the Contributors
Henry Oelhafen
Henry Oelhafen, Deputy Sports Editor
Henry Oelhafen (‘26) is a student in Peabody College majoring in human and organizational development and minoring in business. Henry grew up as a Vanderbilt sports fan and loves to talk about both professional and amateur golf. In addition to writing, he loves to play golf with friends, hike and try new restaurants. He can be reached at [email protected].
Barrie Barto
Barrie Barto, Editor-in-Chief
Barrie Barto ('25) is majoring in medicine, health & society with neuroscience and communication of science & technology minors in the College of Arts and Science. She previously served as Photography Director. When she's not strolling around campus with her camera, you can find Barrie cheering on the St. Louis Blues or tracking down the best gluten-free food in Nashville. She can be reached at [email protected].
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