Vanderbilt defeats Wright State 1-0 in second game of doubleheader

Vanderbilt’s pitchers combined for 16 strikeouts in the defensive battle.

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Enrique Bradfield Jr. reaches base against Wright State on Feb. 22, 2021. (Hustler Multimedia/Truman McDaniel)

Betsy Goodfriend, Deputy Sports Editor

Vanderbilt’s offense struggled to get going after the team scored 14 runs in the first game of Monday’s doubleheader, but the Commodores defeated Wright State 1-0 in the second game of the day.

Sophomore Jack Leiter started for Vanderbilt, and he pitched a gem. In five innings of work, Leiter only allowed a single and a HBP, and he struck out eight of the 15 batters he faced. His fastball touched 97 miles per hour, and his curveball and slider had plenty of break to fool Wright State’s hitters.

Leiter had the luxury of getting some big plays from his defense. In the top of the fourth inning, catcher Maxwell Romero Jr., in his first career start, threw out Tyler Black on Black’s attempt to steal second base with an absolutely perfect throw to shortstop Carter Young. Young made tough play fielding a grounder rolling to his left in the fifth inning, but the throw to first base was just in time.

Wright State’s starting pitcher Bradley Brehmer had Vanderbilt’s number early in the game. He struck out four of the first eight Vanderbilt hitters he faced. 

Vanderbilt started to get to Brehmer in the bottom of the fourth inning. Second baseman Tate Kolwyck had a one-out single to center field, his third hit of the doubleheader. Maxwell Romero Jr. earned a walk, but Wright State tagged both Kolwyck and Romero Jr. out at second after there was some confusion on Dominic Keegan’s grounder to third base.

In the bottom of the fifth inning, center fielder Enrique Bradfield Jr. hit his second bunt single of the doubleheader with a bunt along the first base line. Third baseman Jayson Gonzalez hit a line drive to center field to advance Bradfield Jr. to third. Gonzalez ended up at second after Wright State threw ahead of him to try to catch Bradfield Jr. at third.

Wright State brought in Andrew Cline to relieve Brehmer. Left fielder Jack Bulger, who was starting his first career game after replacing an injured Cooper Davis earlier Monday, grounded out to first base but his slow roller allowed Bradfield Jr. to score the only run of the game.

With Gonzalez at third and one out, Young and Isaiah Thomas could not add another run, and Vanderbilt finished the inning with a 1-0 lead that would hold for the rest of the game.

Sophomore Thomas Schultz pitched the sixth inning in relief. He allowed a leadoff double before settling down and striking out the last two batters he faced.

Sophomore Nick Maldonado walked the first two Wright State batters he faced in the top of the seventh inning before striking out Gehrig Anglin looking. Kolwyck made two nifty plays for the final two outs.

Cline retired eight straight Vanderbilt batters before Gonzalez singled to left field with two outs in the bottom of the seventh inning. Gonzalez was 3-for-3 in the game and led the team in hits.

In the top of the eighth inning, junior Luke Murphy took the mound for Vanderbilt. He struck out the side in 14 pitches.

Junior Ethan Smith entered the game for the ninth inning and earned the save. Smith walked one batter, but with the tying run on base, he locked in and struck out the last two batters.

Vanderbilt’s pitchers combined for 16 strikeouts in the nightcap.

The Commodores return to the field on Wednesday Feb. 24 against Western Kentucky at 4:30 PM CT.