Baseball: Vanderbilt 9, Niagara 0

PLAY BALL!!!!......It Is Time For Baseball. It was sunny and 50 degrees outside for the first pitch of 2010 and it is officially time for baseball. The boys of summer were all there and Vanderbilt faced the Niagara Purple Eagles to start the season.

Hawkins field looked great and the crowd was about 40% of capacity. Radar guns were evident which usually means that scouts are in house to see Sonny Gray take the mound.

This opening day went exactly as planned with Sonny Gray going 8 scoreless innings. He finished with 8 strikeouts, 3 hits allowed, and 2 walks. The stat that was most impressive though was that Sonny's first fastball of the day was 95 mph and so was his last fastball of the day in the eighth inning. Corey Williams closed the ninth with 2 strikeouts, 1 hit allowed, and most importantly, no runs. The combo of Gray and Williams may be a lethal one for opposing hitters this season.

Vanderbilt finished with 10 hits and many were swinging the stick confidently today. Aaron Westlake continued where he left off last season, going 3 for 4, with 2 doubles and a single. Curt Casali, returning from Tommy John surgery, showed no rust as he went 2 for 4, with 2 singles. Joe Loftus also went 2 for 4, with a team leading 3 RBIs. Another star at the plate was freshman Mike Yastrzemski. Yas went 1 for 2 with a walk, but that one hit was a scorching double down the right field line that scored 2. Niagara stranded 4 runners on base while Vanderbilt left 9 on base.

Defensively, Vanderbilt was rock solid, committing no errors. Yas may have made the play of the game when he chased down a hard hit ball to right center field in the eighth inning. It looked like a gapper, but Yas ran it down for a long out. He also flashed the leather earlier in the game on a short fly to centerfield when he dove and prevented a bloop single. Niagara was not as solid in the field, committing 2 errors, which broke the door open in the fourth. ‘Dores scored 5 runs in the fourth on only 3 hits.

Taylor Hill is scheduled to start on Saturday and the ‘Dores will need to continue to take care of business. Ole Miss and Auburn did not take care of business on opening day and now are sitting at 0-1. Vanderbilt expects a big crowd tomorrow as fans can watch the baseball game before the VU-UK basketball game. Should be a fun day tomorrow! Top Stories