Vanderbilt crushes Florida 15-2

Eighth-ranked Vanderbilt defeats 14th-ranked Florida for the second night in a row

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Vanderbilt crushes Florida 15-2

The Vandy Boys beat Florida 15-2 on March 22, 2019. (Photo by Hunter Long)

The Vandy Boys beat Florida 15-2 on March 22, 2019. (Photo by Hunter Long)

The Vandy Boys beat Florida 15-2 on March 22, 2019. (Photo by Hunter Long)

The Vandy Boys beat Florida 15-2 on March 22, 2019. (Photo by Hunter Long)

Betsy Goodfriend, Senior Writer

Vanderbilt entered Friday night’s game against Florida averaging almost nine runs a game, and their bats stayed hot in their 15-2 victory over the Gators.

The 15 runs the Commodores scored were their most against Florida since they put up 17 runs against the Gators in 2007.

Head coach Tim Corbin said, “We played good defense when we needed to. At the end, [Ethan] Smith and [AJ] Franklin threw strikes. That’s the most important thing, just getting to the strike zone, particularly in a game like this. We added on [runs], too. When they scored the two [runs], we scored the three [runs].”

After seeing Drake Fellows pitch a complete game gem last night, Patrick Raby followed up with a solid outing. He allowed just one hit and no runs in six innings of work. While he did walk six batters, he also struck out seven, all looking. Raby has not allowed an extra-base hit all year.

Raby’s fourth win of the season looked easy with the exception of the third inning, when he walked four batters but got out of a bases-loaded jam. His defense helped him out by throwing out a runner trying to steal second, but the rest was all Raby.

Corbin said of Raby, “I think his first few innings were really clean, and then he just lost it for a time. We’ve seen that before, and it kind of reminded me of Sonny Gray a few years ago. He lost it just for a moment, then got it right back again.”

The scoring barrage began in the bottom of the third. JJ Bleday singled to center field, and Stephen Scott roped a double down the first base line.

Scott had a career-high four hits on the night. The senior also walked once and was hit by a pitch.

Philip Clarke drew a four-pitch walk to load the bases for Harrison Ray.

Ray entered the game with just five RBIs, but he stepped up to the plate, both literally and figuratively. He hit a high infield chopper, and with his speed, made it to first safely for an RBI single.

Ethan Paul hit a single to left field to score Scott, and Ty Duvall doubled to right field to clear the bases and extend the lead to 5-0.

Corbin said of Duvall, “I’m glad he had a good night. That’s going to give him some confidence.”

Cooper Davis doubled to center field to score Duvall before Austin Martin hit a deep fly ball to center that ended the inning.

Scott said of the six-run inning, “It was quality at-bat after quality at-bat. I think we just went out there trying to win pitches and not trying to do too much.”

Corbin said, “Raby got out of the inning scoreless and got a very good hitter out, and we were able to move the ball with some very good two-strike at bats.”

With a 6-0 lead supporting him, Raby struck out two batters in the fourth inning and regained some of the control he lost in the previous inning.

The Commodores were not done yet, though.

In the bottom of the fourth inning, Scott and Clarke put together back-to-back infield singles. Paul hit a single to right field to score both of them and bring the lead up to eight runs.

Two innings later, Vanderbilt tacked on three more runs. Ray singled to left field and easily stole second base. Paul hit a ground-rule double to score Ray. Duvall hit a double over the right fielder’s head to score Paul.

After Julian Infante popped up to second base and Davis flied out, Martin hit a bloop single into shallow right field to bring Duvall home.

Florida finally mustered up a response in the top of the seventh, when sophomore pitcher Jake Eder entered in relief of Raby.

The Ocean Ridge, Florida, native walked the first batter he faced. Eder then allowed back-to-back singles. He walked in two runs with the bases loaded. He ended the 25-inning scoreless streak by Vanderbilt pitchers, which was the longest since Vanderbilt pitchers held opponents scoreless for 32 straight innings in 2011.

Vanderbilt kept adding on more more runs in the bottom of the seventh. Scott and Ray earned free passes via a walk and a hit-by-pitch, respectively. Paul drove them both home with a triple to right field. Duvall walked, and Paul scored on a fielder’s choice.

Kiambu Fentress, who replaced Cooper Davis in center field in the top half of the inning, was also hit by a pitch. Martin drew a full count walk to load the bases for Bleday. Bleday struck out looking.

Vanderbilt batters earned six walks and were hit by pitches three times in the game.

Ethan Smith pitched the eighth inning for Vanderbilt and walked one batter. Smith threw 10 of his 17 pitches for strikes.

Ethan Paul added his career-high fifth hit of the game with a single in the bottom of the eighth inning. He had two singles, two doubles, and a triple, and drove in six runs.

A dropped fly ball by the center fielder allowed Harrison Ray to score the fifteenth and final run.

AJ Franklin earned the save for Vanderbilt with a perfect final frame.

Vanderbilt faces Florida one more time tomorrow at 1 PM.

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