Baseball: Vanderbilt 10 Belmont 7

Nashville - Third baseman Cesar Nicolas went 3-for-5 with four RBI and four other Commodores registered a pair of hits as Vanderbilt downed Belmont 10-7 Wednesday, March 13, at Hawkins Field. The Commodores improve to 11-3 while Belmont drops to 8-7.

The Commodores recorded 14 hits against the Bruins with all but one starter earning his way into the hit column. Six Commodores accounted for the team's seven doubles.

Vanderbilt built a 9-3 lead after six inning before hanging on for the three-run victory. VU scored four times in the fifth inning thanks in part to two Belmont errors and a two-RBI double by Nicolaos that found its way into the right-center field alley. First baseman John Prothro followed with a double into the alley in left-center field to score Nicolas.

The Commodores added three more runs in the sixth inning on RBI-doubles off the bats of shortstop Tony Mansolino and left fielder John Kaye. Nicolas also had an RBI-single in the inning.

The Bruins scored two runs apiece in the sixth, seventh and eighth innings, but could not complete the rally.

The two teams sent a combined nine pitchers to the mound. Right-hander Chris Maultsby started the game for the Commodores. He pitched two innings, allowing one hit and two walks while striking out two. Right-hander Scott Shapiro (1-0) pitched the next two innings and earned the first win of his collegiate career. He allowed >one hit, one earned run and a walk while posting one strike out.

Left-hander John Scott (2.0 innings), right-hander Jeff Sues (2.0 innings) and right-hander Dean Bennett (1.0) also saw action. Bennett pitched the ninth to pick up his Southeastern-Conference leading sixth save of the season.

Belmont's Mike Sawyer (0-1) pitched the first 4.1 innings for the Bruins. He allowed six hits, three earned runs and two walks to go along with his three strikeouts.

Vanderbilt opens SEC play this weekend in Baton Rouge. The Commodores battle No. 8 LSU in a three game series starting Friday at 6:30 CT.

Saturday's game starts at 2 p.m. CT. The series finale on Sunday begins at 11:30 a.m. CT.

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