Music City Classic….Game 1

This weekend tournament in Nashville might be better named as the Mid-Western Classic, with three of the four teams participating being from Midwestern America. Over the course of the weekend, Vanderbilt will face Kent State, Illinois State, Indiana University, in that order. The Commodores disposed of KSU, 7-1, in Friday night's game.

Kent State got the unenviable task of playing Vanderbilt on Friday because that day belongs to Sonny Gray. In Gray's last outing against UCLA, he went 4.1 innings and gave up an uncustomary five runs on seven hits. Kent State was just what the doctor ordered for the hard throwing right-hander. Gray threw seven scoreless innings, striking out 10. He started the eight inning and walked the No. 9 batter, Jared Bartholomew, to lead off the inning and allowed the next batter, Jared Humphreys to hit a rope line drive down the left field line for a double.

With runners at second and third, Richie Goodenow entered the game. The next batter walked, and then Tavis Shaw hit a hard fly ball to right field that allowed Bartholomew to tag and score Kent State's only run of the night. Goodenow closed out the inning without any further damage aided by his catcher, Andrew Giobbi, who threw out a runner going to second as part of a double steal. Goodenow allowed no earned runs of his own and got two strikeouts in his two innings of relief. Gray picked up the win to go 2-1 on the season. Robert Sabo picked up the loss for the Golden Flashes and goes to 0-2 on the year.

Vanderbilt only had 11 hits on the night but plated seven runs. Aaron Westlake led the offense, going three of five with a double, homerun and three RBIs. His homerun in the sixth inning was his second of the year. Both Andrew Giobbi and Bryan Johns picked up two hits each on the night and Johns picked up two RBIs. Johns stays red hot with a batting average of .500 to lead the starting team. Curt Casali follows close behind with a .467 batting average.

Vanderbilt will be in action again tomorrow, facing the Illinois State Redbirds. Taylor Hill will get his third start of 2010 for Vanderbilt. Game time is 4 PM CST and the game will be played at Hawkins Field on the Vanderbilt campus. Illinois State (4-3) lost to Indiana (3-5) by a score of 6-4 in the early Friday game. Senior Ryan Copeland (0-0) is the anticipated starter for ISU on Saturday.

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