Carson Fulmer faced one over the minimum through the first six innings. Casey Turgeon led off the game with a four-pitch walk but was erased on a double play. Zack Powers singled in the second inning but was picked off to end the inning.
"You've got to give him credit," Sternagel said. "We knew it was going to be a low-scoring game, but he did a good job mixing pitches. He gave us trouble."
Fulmer ended the night with a shutout, allowing four hits and two walks while striking out eight hitters.
Vanderbilt took advantage of the struggles from some of Florida's freshmen arms. After Dane Dunning walked Bryan Reynolds to start the inning, right-hander Shaun Anderson entered and gave up a single to Zander Wiel. With John Norwood trying to bunt, Anderson walked him on four pitches to load the bases.
Vince Conde followed with a ground ball to second base that Casey Turgeon flipped to shortstop Richie Martin at the bag for the first out, but Martin's throw to first landed in the Vanderbilt dugout, allowing two runs to score. Two batters later, Karl Ellison executed a perfect squeeze bunt to push the Vanderbilt lead to 3-0.
That's all the Commodores would need.
"It was frustrating, but I don't know if it made much of a difference with the way (Fulmer) was throwing," O'Sullivan said.
Freshman left-hander Kirby Snead threw 4.2 shutout innings out of the Florida bullpen, saving the veteran arms for tomorrow's game.
The teams will square off on Saturday at 12 p.m. in the rubber game. Florida will start redshirt junior right-hander Karsten Whitson. It will be Florida's first rubber game since April 13 at South Carolina.
"They've got a starter with a good arm and we've got a starter with a good arm," O'Sullivan said. "They've got a rested pen and we've got a rested pen. It's a pretty even game. It's going to come down to who makes the least mistakes."
Keenan Kish, Zack Powers and Whitson -- all redshirt juniors -- will be honored in a pregame ceremony for Senior Day.