While Chandler Day looked a little shaky in the first couple of innings against UT-Martin, he found his groove and led the Commodores to an 11-0 win. The offense picked up later in the game, but the pitching really shined throughout.
After pitching a perfect first inning, UT-Martin starting pitcher Peyton Cain left the game with one out in the second due to an apparent injury and was replaced by Jake Patzner. Although the Commodores couldn’t get anything off of him in the inning, they struck first for three runs in the third, including a bases-loaded balk that scored Ty Duvall off of. Jeren Kendall helped load the bases after hitting a high fly in shallow left field that couldn’t be reached, as did a Duvall walk and Stephen Scott hit by pitch. Julian Infante brought in the next two runs on a grounder to third, which led to an overthrow at third base as the first baseman tried to throw out Scott.
Those runs would prove to be plenty for Vanderbilt, as Day didn’t allow another baserunner until the sixth inning. A leadoff single and hit batter helped put a man on third for UT-Martin, but a strikeout ended any chance of a run, sealing another quality start for the pitcher.
“I don’t think that I did anything different, just the same preparation I did,” Day said about his start.
The Commodores would tack on two more in the sixth inning, as Duvall laced a double to right field with two outs, bringing in JJ Bleday and Connor Kaiser, who each drew walks. But that wouldn’t be the end of the scoring, as Reed Hayes drove in two runs on a single in the seventh inning. Will Toffey bunted Scott and Infante in scoring position, following a bunt single and infield single on a hit and run, respectively.
Vanderbilt wouldn’t stop the scoring though, adding four more runs in the eighth inning off of run-scoring hits from Walker Grisanti, Hayes and Bleday.
After Day left the game in the sixth inning, the bullpen sealed the deal, pitching three shutout and hitless innings among three different relievers. Jackson Gillis pitched the seventh, followed by Connor Snider in the eighth. Hayes finished off UT-Martin with a perfect inning after serving as the designated hitter in the game.
“I just think at that point right there we had a long sixth inning, and I think it made sense for us to throw Jackson Gillis there,” Corbin said. “Jackson needed a touch, and he did a nice job with it. Of course Snider hadn’t pitched in a while since he got it, so he needed a touch. Reed Hayes didn’t either, so it was good to get them all the baseball.”
Vanderbilt improved to 18-11 with the win and heads to South Carolina for the weekend series, which begins on Thursday
Another solid outing from Chandler Day
After a shutout and near no-hitter last week against Lipscomb, Day returned to the mound with another impressive start. While he allowed three baserunners over the first two innings, he settled down and let just one more man on base, in the sixth inning. His control was a little shaky early on, but he ended the day with 10 strikeouts, a career high for the sophomore. With the win, he moves to 5-0 on the season and lowered his ERA to 2.78. Head coach Tim Corbin surprisingly didn’t put him back into the game in the seventh inning with a pitch count of 82, but it allowed for some other pitchers to get in there.
“He’s getting stronger,” Corbin said about Day’s consistency. “He does a really nice job of operating well in between starts.”
Base running a little uneasy
In the fourth and fifth innings, Vanderbilt baserunners were thrown out attempting to steal second. Hayes and Alonzo Jones both got tagged out fairly easily on their attempts. Then in the sixth inning, Hayes started running towards second after the catcher dropped the ball but was once again tagged out. It appeared as if he thought the ball had gotten past the catcher, but it wasn’t, and the play wasn’t even considered caught stealing. Kendall got the lone steal of the game for Vanderbilt, but heads-up running from Connor Kaiser and Duvall, following his double, provided an extra run and a move to third base for the catcher. A well-timed hit and run by Scott on first and Infante at the plate also looked good, as an infield grounder made it too difficult for the shortstop to make any play at either base.
Reed Hayes continues to show his versatility
After a three hit, two RBI game as the designated hitter, Reed Hayes came in to close out the game. His perfect ninth inning sealed the shutout for the Commodores, as he has yet to allow a run in nine pitching appearances. He’s proving himself to be a vital part of both the lineup and bullpen and should continue to see some more action as the team’s closer.
Balks still exist
Balks certainly aren’t a common occurrence in baseball at any level of the game. However, UT-Martin pitcher Jake Patzner balked twice in the game, including in the third inning with the bases loaded that gave the Commodores the first run of the game. His first balk almost ended in an issue, as he put Jeren Kendall on third with it.