A 21-2 road victory at MTSU last night for Vanderbilt (23-15) might be the thing this team needs to jump start their season and position themselves for a run into the SEC Tournament.
The Commodores looked poised early as they started their scoring in the 1st inning. A two out rally started by Julian Infante, put the Dores on top 2-0 and they never looked back. The 2nd inning is where Vanderbilt took full control of the game and basically put MTSU in their rear view window. The Commodores sent 11 men to the plate, scoring 7 runs off 7 hits. Outfielder Stephen Scott put the Dores up 3-0, singling to the outfield after consecutive singles from J.J. Bleday, Jason Delay and Jeren Kendall.
Scott's single kept the bases loaded for Infante, who came to plate after singling in the 1st inning and blasted his 1st career grand slam to the right center and put the Commodores way out in front at 7-0. Reed Hayes double off the wall and Bleday's second single of the inning brought the score to 9-0. Vanderbilt hit the ball well off MTSU starter Grant Williams and chased him from the game after the Commodores seven run 2nd inning.
Vanderbilt's starting pitcher, Chandler Day didn't last long on the night himself but it wasn't from the Blue Raiders batting lineup nor from his own doing, it was simply because the Commodores were up so big over MTSU (19-18) and they didn't need him. The possibility is there for Day to receive a start this Sunday in game three against Georgia, so pulling him early last night might of been a sign of that. Day went two innings on the evening, allowing one hit, striking out one hitter while only throwing 21 pitches.
Day was replaced in 3rd by Collin Snider, who would pick up his 3rd win of the season by pitching three innings, allowing one run on two hits while striking out one. The Murfreesboro native had a good outing on Tuesday night and that's big for him as he has been struggling of late. Vanderbilt needs Snider to get right as he is a big part of the Commodores bullpen.
Vanderbilt would continue to put up runs as MTSU didn't have an answer in their bullpen for the Commodore hitters. The Blue Raiders bullpen was torched by Vanderbilt as they gave up 14 runs on 14 hits while walking nine hitters. They threw 10 guys out of the bullpen with none of them going longer than one inning. It was a hitting display of excellence by Vanderbilt on Tuesday night as 13 Commodore hitters registered hits on the evening with four guys producing multiple RBI games.
Hayes had a career night going 4-6 from the plate while producing a career high 6 RBI's. Hayes had the big night on the plate but Infante and @Will Toffey had big evening's as well. Infante had the big blast on the night with his grand slam in the 2nd inning but he also went 2-4 on the night along with those 4 RBI's. Toffey continued his hot streak at the plate going 2-3 on the night while knocking in four runs himself. The middle of the Vanderbilt lineup has been hitting much better of late and they will be key down the stretch if the Commodores plan to make a run into postseason play.
The Commodores return to SEC action this Friday night as they are back on the road set to face the Georgia Bulldogs. Game one is set to begin at 6:00 pm Central and it will be aired on ESPNU. Sophomore right hander Patrick Raby is expected to take the mound.