There was quite a bit of pessimism for the bats of Commodores going into the series against the defending national champions and #3 team in the nation Ole Miss Rebels. Vanderbilt had a subpar batting average, left lots of men on base, and had trouble producing on offense. The VandyBoys had to produce on the plate and be smart on the basepaths if they were going to have a chance against the Rebels.
You knew that the Vanderbilt pitching would rise to the occasion but what about the offense? Well, they did, big time. Vanderbilt had an offensive explosion against their toughest opponent yet. Vanderbilt wasn’t just okay with the bats, they were excellent. Elite pitching and loud bats led Vanderbilt to a 3-0 sweep of the Rebels where Vanderbilt outscored Ole Miss, 27-4 on the weekend.
Thursday, March 16: Vanderbilt 12, Ole Miss 2
What more could you ask for than run-ruling your opponent to start conference play? Vanderbilt dominated the first game of the series in every aspect. It started on the mound with Carter Holton as he pitched a solid 6 innings, allowing 6 hits, 2 runs, and recording 5 strikeouts. Bryce Cunningham came in for mop-up duty and handled the Ole’ Miss lineup with ease as he pitched 2 innings and only allowed 1 hit.
Fans had been asking where the bats had been up until this point, and the VandyBoys decided to bring them out for game one. Vanderbilt recorded an impressive 17 hits and scored 12 runs on their way to routing Ole Miss. Vanderbilt got a lot of production from the bottom half of their lineup as Chris Maldonado went 3-for-5, Matthew Polk went 3-for-4, and Jonathan Vastine went 3-for-4. Vanderbilt also recorded a season-high four home runs thanks to the bats of Maldonado, Polk, Schreck, and Noland. The VandyBoys decided to end the night early as they run-ruled Ole’ Miss.
Friday, March 17th: Vanderbilt 8, Ole Miss 0
Starting pitcher Hunter Owen saw the outing that Carter Holton had the previous night and decided to one-up him. Owen had an amazing Friday night as he pitched a complete game shutout against the #3 team in the nation. Owen faced twenty-nine batters and allowed zero runs on 2 hits. Owen only walked 1 batter and fanned 8 as he led the ‘Dores to their 8-0 victory over Ole Miss.
Owen is not just the only pitcher having a stellar season for the Commodores, but it seems that everyone that has been on the bump has seen success. For starting pitching, Vanderbilt has a team ERA of 2.83 with 92.1 innings pitched. Starting Vanderbilt pitchers have only allowed 66 earned runs and have an impressive 1.15 WHIP.
As for the relievers, Vanderbilt has seen just as much success. Vanderbilt’s bullpen has a total 3.43 ERA with 99.2 innings pitched. Even though there is a slight raise in ERA, the VandyBoys bullpen has posted a very nice 1.09 WHIP.
Altogether, the Vanderbilt pitching staff has a total 3.14 ERA with a 1.12 WHIP. Vanderbilt’s pitching staff is third in the SEC with only 124 hits allowed. It should also be noted that up until this point, Vanderbilt has played much more impressive opponents than their SEC counterparts, making the numbers that much more stellar.
Saturday, March 18th: Vanderbilt 7, Ole Miss 2
The VandyBoys took the diamond Saturday looking for a three-game sweep against Ole Miss and they got what they were looking for. But it did not come with a bit of adversity to start. Vanderbilt found themselves down 2-0 in the 4th as Calvin Harris and Jacob Gonzalez helped themselves to solo home runs. But in the bottom of the 4th, Vanderbilt took the lead and they never looked back. Vanderbilt had a 3-run inning thanks to Jack Bulger as he had a 2-run nuke to give the ‘Dores a 3-2 lead.
Devin Futrell allowed 2 earned runs in 5 innings pitched. Vanderbilt dipped into the bullpen and brought out Sam Hliboki and Nick Maldonado as they suffocated the Ole Miss offense on the way to a Vanderbilt victory, and a sweep for the Commodores.
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