Baseball: Vandy takes final home series

Vanderbilt closed out its home schedule in fashion with a 17-4 triumph over Kentucky Sunday at Hawkins Field.

The win gave the Commodores a two-games-to-one series win over the Wildcats and improved their record to 22-25 overall and 6-19 in the SEC. Kentucky slipped to 17-32 overall and 6-21 in league play.

Vanderbilt set season highs for runs and hits (21), as several Commodores established new career highs. Seniors Karl Nonemaker and Sean Luellwitz and freshman Tony Mansolino each registered four hits on the day. Nonemaker finished with a career-best seven RBI, including an eighth-inning grand slam. 

He also stole two bases and scored twice. Luellwitz went 4-for-6, tying his career-high in hits. He singled three times and doubled once while posting a pair of RBI. Mansolino also set a personal best for hits with four. He scored three times.

Vanderbilt second baseman Chris Broadus singled in the fifth inning to extend his hit streak to 18 games. His career-high and team-best hit streak was the second-longest current hit streak in the SEC entering the day.

Commodore starter Jeremy Sowers (5-5) earned the win, allowing three earned runs on seven hits, three walks and five strikeouts. Kentucky's Rob Corrado (1-3) suffered the loss, allowing seven earned runs on 10 hits. He walked two and struck out one.

Commodore catcher Jonathan Douillard put Vanderbilt ahead 3-0 in the second inning when he hit his first home run of the season, a three-run long ball that also scored Mansolino and John Kaye. Mansolino reached base on a one-out double, while Kaye took first base on a walk.

Kentucky stayed close in the fourth when Gordon Tyler singled in Spencer Graeter from second base and Seth Morris hit a RBI fielder's choice that plated Brad Pickrell.

Vanderbilt pushed the lead to 4-2 in the bottom of the fourth. Kaye walked, took third base on a single by Douillard and scored on a sacrifice fly by Nonemaker.

The Commodores sent 12 men to the plate in the fifth inning and scored eight times to extend their lead to 12-2. Cesar Nicolas chased Carrado three batters into the inning when he hit a three-run home run to left-center field. Luellwitz and Shapiro scored on the play after each reached base on singles.

Vanderbilt scored five unearned runs off reliever Scott Wade in the inning. Errors by Graeter at second base and Russ Rutherford at third base continued the frame. 

Nonemaker followed two batters later with a two-RBI double to right field to give Vanderbilt a 10-2 advantage. Broadus singled in Nonemaker, then scored on a RBI double by Luellwitz to complete the scoring in the fifth.

Kentucky added a run in the sixth and eighth innings to make the score 12-4. Tyler doubled and scored on a single by Morris in the sixth off Sowers. Morris tripled and scored on a single by Caleb Stewart in the eighth off VU reliever Robert Ransom.

Vanderbilt ended its scoring in the eighth inning with five additional runs. Nonemaker's grand slam scored Mansolino (single), pinch hitter Matt Zeller (single) and Douillard (walk). Pinch hitter Scott Vanderhoff doubled and scored on a RBI single by Luellwitz.

The victory concludes the inaugural season at Vanderbilt's Hawkins Field. The Commodores end the year with a 15-10 record in their new ballpark. Vanderbilt wraps up its 2002 season this week on the road. The Commodores travel to Middle Tennessee Tuesday to play the Blue Raiders at 7 p.m. VU then heads to Knoxville for a three-game SEC series against Tennessee this weekend.


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