The #15 UCLA Bruins came out from Los Angeles, California to take on the #9 Vanderbilt Commodores in a wet and dreary weekend series in Nashville. Led by stellar weekend pitching, the VandyBoys would take the series 2-1 over the Bruins with wins coming on Friday and Sunday. Even though it was not a clean sweep, Vanderbilt has phenomenal pitching from their weekend starters Carter Holton, Hunter Owen, and Devin Futrell.
Friday: Vanderbilt 6 UCLA 0
Vanderbilt road the coattails of Carter Holton to victory on Friday to take the first of the three-game series. The Holton hype train continued to roll on as he pitched 5 2/3 innings while only allowing one lone hit and striking out 7 batters. Bryce Cunningham came in to relieve Holton, pitched for the remainder of the game, allowed 4 hits, and recorded 4 strikeouts.
Vanderbilt saw decent offensive production Friday against six UCLA pitchers. RJ Austin continues to show real flash with his bat as he went 2-3 and one strikeout Friday against the Bruins. Half of Vanderbilt’s runs scored came off the bat of Davis Diaz as Diaz went 1-4 but drove in 3 RBIs for the Commodores.
Saturday: UCLA 3 Vanderbilt 0
Vanderbilt continued to have great outings from their starting pitchers as Saturday Hunter Owen had his day on the mound and threw 4 2/3 shutout innings against the Bruins where he only allowed a couple of hits and recorded 7 strikeouts. Unfortunately, Vanderbilt’s bullpen did not have such a successful afternoon. In relief, Sam Hliboki allowed two solo homers, and Thomas Schultz allowed one. Even though they were all solo home runs, Vanderbilt could not wake the bats up and help out their pitchers.
Vanderbilts’ offensive struggles continued on Saturday as they had a tough time stringing together meaningful at-bats and when they did, they could not bring them home and left a village on the base paths. Could the VandyBoys just need some time for the bats to wake up? Possibly, and let us just hope that rust is all that plagues them.
Sunday: Vanderbilt 2 UCLA 1
The VandyBoys returned to the Hawk on Sunday for the rubber match against the Bruins and the ‘Dores left Sunday with a win thanks to a dominant performance by starting pitcher Devin Futrell. Futrell came out and gave the VandyBoys an absolutely stellar 5 innings pitched only allowing 2 hits and recording 4 strikeouts. Pitcher Nick Maldonado came in and closed out the game with authority for the VandyBoys. In 3 innings pitched, Maldonado recorded a whopping 8 strikeouts and only allowed one single hit.
Vanderbilt struggled at the plate but one of the bright spots for the ‘Dores came on the base paths. In the bottom of the third, Enrique Bradfield Jr recorded his 97th stolen base, breaking the all-time stolen base record for Vanderbilt. Once Bradfield Jr’s career is complete at Vanderbilt, I am not sure we will ever see this record broken. So enjoy watching history, Vandy fans.
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