The Commodores outhit the Redbirds 9-6, drew one walk and had two batters hit-by-pitch. The Commodores failed to score with bases loaded and one out in the second and bases loaded and no outs in the eighth and left seven runners on base.
The difference was third baseman Tony Mansolino's RBI single in the fourth, which gave VU a 2-0 lead. Mansolino drove in catcher Brian Hernandez, who doubled to deep left-center with one out.
Junior Jensen Lewis was VU's starting pitcher and improved to 2-0 with the win. He pitched 5 2/3 innings and struck out eight, five looking, while he allowed just five hits and walked one. Lewis was named SEC Pitcher of the Week after he allowed one hit and struck out nine in seven innings in his first start, Feb. 19 against Virginia Military Institute.
Freshman left-hander David Price relieved Lewis and did not allow a hit in 2 2/3 innings. He struck out three and did not allow a walk.
Price was replaced with one out in the ninth by senior Ryan Rote, who recorded the final two outs (he also allowed a hit), and earned his second save of the season in as many days.
Also, for the second straight day the Commodores led 1-0 after the first inning. This time second baseman Warner Jones singled with two outs, stole second and scored on Mike Baxter's single to right-centerfield. The Commodores now have been in front or tied at the end of 22 straight innings, a stretch which began with a five-run seventh, Feb. 23 against Tennessee-Martin.
Jones, Hernandez, Mansolino and senior Antoan Richardson all have at least one hit in every game this season.
Illinois State's run came in the sixth on a two-out double by catcher Jay Molina, which drove in shortstop Ryan Anetsberger. It was the only time in the contest the Redbirds got a runner past second base. Molina was 2-3 with a walk and his team's only extra-base hit.
Vanderbilt's leadoff hitter, left fielder Aaron Garza, was a late scratch because of an ankle injury sustained during pregame warmups. He was replaced in the field by Matt Zeller, who batted ninth. Shortstop Rucker Taylor was moved into the leadoff spot. The Commdores' freshman of the year in 2004, Garza has a .133 average with two hits and two RBI in four games.
VU concludes the Music City Classic at noon Sunday against the University of Connecticut. The Music City Classic pits three local schools, VU, David Lipscomb University and Belmont College, against three visiting institutions, Illinois State, Connecticut and Boston College, on a rotating basis throughout the weekend.