VandyBoys Pick Up Fourth Straight SEC Series Victory

The Vanderbilt Commodores traveled to Columbia, Missouri this weekend to take on a wishy-washy Tigers club. The Missouri Tigers opened SEC play by sweeping the Tennessee Volunteers and then proceeded to get swept by South Carolina and Kentucky in their following two SEC series. This matchup would be challenging as Thursday Vanderbilt announced that Carter Holton would not start the series opener and instead, Bryce Cunningham got the nod. Vanderbilt had a shaky weekend as poor ABs and less-than-stellar defense plagued them but in the end, they were able to come away with the series win of 2-1.

Thursday, April 6: Vanderbilt 7 Missouri 6

Vanderbilt was faced with some adversity even before the first pitch of the game on Thursday as it was announced that stud pitcher Carter Holton would not pitch and would sit as he faced some tightness early in the week and did not feel 100% according to reports. So, Vanderbilt turned to pitcher Bryce Cunningham who has shown real flash and promise in his outings for the VandyBoys. 

Cunningham proved to be effective for the VandyBoys as he went 4.2 innings and allowed 2 runs on 3 hits and struck out just 1 batter. At times, Cunningham did have trouble finding the zone as he walked 4 batters during his appearance on Thursday. 

Vanderbilt was forced to turn to the bullpen and see if they could limit the damage and that they did. Ryan Ginther came in relief for Cunningham and pitched 2 innings only allowing 1 hit and striking out 2 batters. Thomas Schultz faced trouble as he came in for relief of Ginther and only pitched 0.2 innings as he allowed 4 earned runs on 4 hits. Thomas Schultz allowed a 3-run HR in his outing which boosted his home run per flyball rate to 37.5%, which leads the team. 

In the end, thanks to a stellar defensive play by Enriqure Bradfield Jr, Jonathan Vastine, and Davis Diaz, Vanderbilt was able to secure game 1 by a score of 7-6. 

Friday, April 7: Missouri 5 Vanderbilt 4

The VandyBoys got a taste of defeat as they dropped game two of three against the Missouri Tigers to end their 13-game winning streak. Vanderbilt had their chances to put up a crooked score multiple times as they left 7 runners on base, but they could not bring them home. 

Hunter Owen got the game-two nod as he faced the Tigers. Owen went 5 innings and struck out seven batters while allowing 3 runs but only 1 earned. The issue for Vanderbilt came in as Sam Hliboki took the mound. Hliboki seemed to be cruising through his appearance but was just left in a little too long as Missouri started to hone in on him. 

In the 9th, Hliboki allowed back-to-back-to-back singles to load the bases in the bottom of the 9th. Matt Garcia came to the plate for the home team and singled to right field as two runners scored and the Tigers walked off the ‘Dores, giving them their first SEC loss of the season. 

Saturday, April 8: 

It was up to Vanderbilts ace, Devin Futrell to lead the VandyBoys to a series win Saturday against the Tigers, and he did. Devin Futrell went out and pitched a magnificent 7.1 innings and allowed 5 hits, no runs, and struck out 6 batters. On the season, Futrell only has an allowed OBP of .242, a strikeout rate of 20.9%, and a 0.84 WHIP. 

RJ Schreck continues to impress for the Commodores as Saturday he went 2-4 with 2 RBIs and a home run.

The VandyBoys were able to clinch the series and even though they dropped game two of the series, still have not lost a weekend series all season long. 

Trevor Hulan – @iamtrevhulan 


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