Sheffield was sharp out of the gate, working a quick first inning with a strikeout sandwiched in between a pair of groundouts. That first inning began a string of 17 straight Musketeers to open the game for the right-hander until a two-out walk snapped the streak in the bottom of the sixth. Sheffield bounced back to strike out the next batter to run his total to nine through six innings.
After a 1-2-3 seventh, Sheffield carried a no hitter into the eighth inning. The Tullahoma, Tenn. native battled Xavier’s (3-10) Andrew Jernigan to a full count before the shortstop lined a crisp single into left field to break up the no-no. Sheffield struggled with command after the single, issuing a walk before striking out back-to-back batters to push his total to a career-best 12. A second walk of the inning loaded the bases for Xavier and ended Sheffield’s night. The right-hander allowed one hit over a career-high 7.2 innings to go along with three walks and a team season-best 12 strikeouts to earn his third win of the year
Matt Ruppenthal kept the shutout intact with a strikeout before Collin Snider worked a scoreless ninth to record the Commodores’ second straight shutout and third of the year. Vanderbilt (13-1) last recorded consecutive shutouts last season during the NCAA Tournament against Radford and Illinois.
The Vandy offense jumped on Xavier early with four runs on five hits in the second inning and never looked back. Back-to-back singles up the middle from Penn Murfee and Will Toffey started the rally with Ethan Paul’s opposite field single down the left field line putting the Dores on the scoreboard with a 2-0 lead. Another opposite field hit, a single from Tyler Campbell scored Paul before a third opposite field hit of the inning scored Campbell. Alonzo Jones’ two-out double into the right field corner capped the rally.
Doubles from Murfee and Jason Delay padded the VU lead in the eighth. Delay’s RBI-double gave him at least one RBI in all 10 of his starts this season.
Toffey led the way for the Commodores with a season-best three hits while driving in a run. The Vandy offense continues to roll, recording 12 more hits in the win. The Commodores have now posted 10-plus hits in 10 of the team’s 11 home games this season.
Xavier starter Zac Lowther took the loss giving up five runs on 10 hits over six innings.
Vanderbilt hosts Xavier tomorrow at 2 p.m. at Hawkins Field with lefty Ben Bowden scheduled to start for the home team.