Baseball: Vanderbilt shuts down Belmont, 4-1

Nashville, Tenn. -- Stephen Shao pitched four scoreless innings giving up just three hits Tuesday leading Vanderbilt to a 4-1 victory over Belmont at Hawkins Field. Shao struck out four and walked one in his first start of the season and did not allow a base runner past first base. Vanderbilt improves to 24-11, while Belmont owns a 19-18 record.

The Commodores took a 3-0 lead before Belmont scored one in the sixth inning off reliever Michael Wagner.

Warner Jones scored in the first inning when Brian Hernandez singled to left field. Jones reached on a walk and stole second. Mike Baxter made it 2-0 in the third inning when he reached on a single, stole second and scored on a Jones double to right field. Antoan Richardson scored the third run when he singled to left field, stole second and scored when Hernandez hit a sacrifice fly to right field for a 3-0 lead in the fifth.

Matt Reynolds led off the the sixth inning with a double to left field and stole second. Wagner struck out Wilson Tucker and walked Ben Petsch before Dennis Gomez reached on an error by Jones scoring Reynolds. Wagner then struck out Sam Grooms (looking) and Clay Peterson to retire the side, keeping the Bruins scoreless.

Wilson Tucker led off the Bruins eighth inning with a single to left field and moved to third on two wild pitches by Cameron Betourne who came in to relieve Wagner. After walking Gomez, VU's Ryan Rote came in for Betourne with one away and runners on first and third. Rote threw one pitch to Grooms who hit into a double play to the shortstop to end the inning.

The Commodores added one in the eighth inning for a three-run lead, 4-1. With former Commodore Blake Owen on the mound for the Bruins, Dominic de la Osa reached on an error by Reynolds with one away. Matt Zeller singled through the left side moving moving de la Osa to third. Pinch hitter Alex Feinberg singled to centerfield scoring de la Osa for the Commodore's final run.

Rote walked two batters in the ninth. With Kane Simmons on third and Brad Dobner on second with two away, Rote assisted on the final out when Reynolds hit a grounder to the pitcher's mound.

Wagner went 3.1 innings giving up one run on three hits, while Betourne walked the only batter he faced. Rote went 1.2 innings and did not give up a hit in his seventh save of the season.

Charles Lee picked up the loss for Belmont and is now 2-3 on the season. He went 3.0 innings giving up two runs (two earned) on three hits with three strike outs and one walk. Cody Blackard went 1.0 inning giving up one hit with one strikeout and Brandon Paetznick went 3.0 innings giving up one run on three hits. Owen pitched the final inning giving up one run (unearned) on two hits.

Mike Baxter had two of VU's nine hits, while Hernandez totaled two RBI in the game. Reynolds and Tucker each had two hits for the Bruins who totaled six hits in the contest.

Vanderbilt travels to Bowling Green, Ky., Wednesday for a 6 pm game at Western Kentucky.


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