Vanderbilt overwhelms WKU, 10-6

Bowling Green, Ky. — Ten runs by Vanderbilt over the first five innings was too much for the Western Kentucky baseball team to overcome as the Hilltoppers dropped a 10-6 decision to the Commodores Wednesday evening at Nick Denes Field.

The Commodores (25-11) struck early with a pair of two-out runs in each of the first five innings. After WKU (12-24) starter Daniel Faulkner retired the first two batters of the ballgame, Mike Baxter drew a one-out walk and came all the way around to score on a gap double off the bat of Warner Jones to score the game's first run. Tony Mansolino followed with a run-scoring single as Vanderbilt took a quick 2-0 lead.

Vandy doubled its lead in the second with a two-run home run over the wall in left-center to make it 4-0. After Dominic De La Osa led off the third with a double, he came around to score on a one-out single by Carter Hawkins with the fifth Vanderbilt run of the evening. Shao then drove home his third run of the game with a two-out single as Hawkins came in to score and increase the lead to 6-0.

The ‘Dores played long ball again in the fourth, plating two runs for the fourth straight inning when De La Osa hit a two-run homer to left to push the lead to 8-0.

Western finally broke through in the bottom of the fourth as Matt Ransdell drew a lead the frame with a walk, and came around to score on a two-out single by Casey Hamilton to cut the deficit to 8-1. However, Vanderbilt got into double figures in the fifth when Baxter homered with Matt Zeller scoring on the play as the lead grew to 10-1.

Western cut its deficit in half in the bottom of the fifth against Vandy reliever Greg Moviel. After Ben Cooper led off the inning with a walk, Eric Scriven singled to put runners at first and second. After a Corteze Armstrong sacrifice bunt moved both runners into scoring position, Ransdell came through with a single to right, scoring Scriven. The throw from Zeller went all the way through to the backstop, allowing Scriven to score the second Hilltopper run of the inning. Tim Grogan followed with his third home run of the year to right-center to make it a 10-5 game.

After reliever Kyle Smith held the Commodores scoreless for the first time in the sixth, Western strung together three straight hits to open the bottom of the inning, with the third being a Copper RBI hit to left as WKU pulled within four. However, Cody Crowell was able to come in and blank the Hilltoppers the rest of the way to earn his first save of the year.

Grogan led the offense as three hits, while driving in a team-high two runs with his home run. Hamilton also finished with a pair of hits for the Hilltoppers. Jones and Mansolino led the Vanderbilt offense with three hits, while Shao drove home a game-high three runs.

Faulkner (4-6) suffered the loss as he allowed five runs on six hits in his two innings of work. Smith had the best outing of his young career, shutting out the Commodores over the final 4.1 innings while allowing just two hits while striking out five. Vanderbilt starter Matt Buschmann (3-2) earned the win allowing just one run on three hits in 4.0 innings, and Crowell earned the save as he blanked WKU on two hits, while striking out five in four innings of relief.

Western opens up an eight-game roadswing this weekend, traveling to Texas-Pan American for a nonconference series. The Toppers and Broncos open the three-game set Friday night at 7:30 p.m. (CDT). Vanderbilt hosts Tennessee for a three game series.


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