Newcomers shine in 10-8 win over SIU

NASHVILLE-- Vanderbilt's 10-8 victory over Southern Illinois Saturday at Hawkins Field resembled an auto show-- many of the new models were on display. Freshman outfielder Aaron Garza went 3-4 with three runs and two RBI including a home run in his first at bat; freshman left-hander Stephen Shao, in relief, earned the win in his first collegiate appearance; and junior college transfer Ryan Rote picked up the save allowing no hits and striking out two.

Vanderbilt's 10-8 victory over Southern Illinois Saturday at Hawkins Field resembled an auto show. Many of the new models were on display.

Two freshmen and a junior college transfer drove the Commodores to a 2-0 record after veterans Jeremy Sowers and Warner Jones powered the Commodores to a season opening victory Friday (12-6).

Freshman outfielder Aaron Garza went 3-4 with three runs and two RBI including a home run in his first at bat; freshman left-hander Stephen Shao, in relief, earned the win in his first collegiate appearance; and junior college transfer Ryan Rote picked up the save allowing no hits and striking out two.

After two scoreless innings, the Commodores got on the board with two home runs from Garza and Jones to give Vanderbilt a 2-0 lead.

Garza hit a home run over the left field wall in his first collegiate at bat to give Vanderbilt its first lead of the game in the third inning.

"I was just looking for a fastball in the zone and fortunately it went out of the park," Garza said. "When I hit it, I just put my head down and ran."

With two away, Jones hit his homer over the center field fence for a 2-0 Commodore lead.

The Commodores added three more runs in the fourth. With one away, senior catcher Jonathan Douillard singled to left and stole second. Garza singled, followed by another single from junior shortstop Ryan Klosterman which advanced Douillard to third and Garza to second. With bases loaded, centerfielder Antoan Richardson drew a walk that scored Douillard. Jones reached base on a fielder's choice scoring Garza. With two away, senior first baseman Cesar Nicolas singled to left field, scoring Klosterman and giving Vanderbilt a 5-0 lead.

Southern Illinois answered in the fifth inning scoring six runs and taking a 6-5 lead. Nathan Boldt began the inning for the Salukis with a single to center field, followed by another single from Tyler Schooley. Kevin Koski singled with a bunt loading the bases. Nathan Emrick doubled down the left field line, scoring Boldt and Schooley. Emrick advanced to third and Koski scored on a balk called on VU's starting pitcher Jensen Lewis. P.J. Finigan singled to center field scoring Emrick before the Commodores made a pitching change (Tyler Rhoden for Lewis).

Cory Newman singled on a bunt and Finigan scored when Greg Andrews doubled to center field. With one away, freshman Stephen Shao replaced Rhoden on the mound and popped up Josh Markle and struck out Boldt to retire the side. The Salukis totaled six runs on seven hits in the inning.

The Commodores answered in their half of the inning scoring four runs in the bottom of the fifth. Scott singled to third and stole second. Douillard reached on an error by P.J. Finigan (shortstop) advancing Scott to third. Garza doubled to left field scoring Scott. Douillard and Garza scored, followed by a walk by Richardson who then stole second and third bases and scored on a passed ball.

The Salukis scored two in the top of the seventh to cut the Commodore lead to one, 9-8. Vanderbilt picked up one more run in the seventh inning when Klosterman scored on a Nicolas double to center field.

Freshman left-hander Greg Moviel faced four batters in the eighth inning retiring two before junior right-hander Ryan Rote came in to close the game. Rote picked up the save facing five batters totaling two strikeouts with one walk and no hits. Shao pitched 2.2 innings and gave up two runs (two earned) one hit, and numbered two walks and five strikeouts. Lewis (starting pitcher) pitched four innings giving up eight hits, five runs (five earned) and totaled two strikeouts and one walk. Rhoden pitched one-third of an inning and gave up two hits and one run (earned).

"Other than the train wreck in the fifth inning, I was pleased with the game," Head Coach Tim Corbin said. "Stephen Shao put a stop on things and ate some innings for us. Greg Moviel did well and Ryan Rote closed nicely. The pitchers struck out a bunch, but gave away too many free passes." The bottom of the batting order came up big for the Commodores. Scott (seventh hitter), Douillard (eighth hitter) and Garza (ninth hitter) combined for 7-13 with six runs and two RBI.

"Aaron is good player," Corbin said. "We gave Matt (Zeller) the start yesterday because of his experience because we didn't want to go too early with Garza. We want to bring him along slowly."

Jason Chavez picked up the loss for the Salukis giving up four runs (one earned) in one inning of play.

The series concludes Sunday (Feb. 22) at 1 pm at Hawkins Field. Tickets are $1.

SCORE BY INNINGS:
Southern Illinois 000 060 200 -- 8 11 3
Vanderbilt 002 340 10x -- 10 15 3

Win: Stephen Shao (1-0)
Loss: Jason Chavez (0-1)
Save: Ryan Rote (1)
Attendance: 530
Time of Game: 2:55


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