Aggies Take Series Opener

Vanderbilt offense held in check on Thursday

by Chad Bishop

NASHVILLE, Tenn. — Vanderbilt’s offense could do little to figure out Texas A&M starter Nathan Dettmer and the visiting Aggies tacked on a few late runs to take the opening game of a three-game series, 5-1, on Thursday at Hawkins Field.

Dettmer (5-2), who retired the final seven batters he faced, went seven innings and surrendered just one run and two hits. He fanned six and left after hurling 104 pitches.

“He’s tough. His power sinker gets into the ground and unless you get underneath it and lift it, it makes it tough,” Vandy head coach Tim Corbin said of Dettmer. “You saw the result of the balls, there were a lot of chopped balls. He makes it tough – he did it to Arkansas last week and he slowed us down.

“You got to give it to that kid. Dettmer’s a good pitcher. He attacked the strike zone and he didn’t give up any free bases. The ones we (had) we didn’t do much with.”

The Commodores (28-12, 9-10 SEC) went 0-for-9 with runners in scoring position and didn’t get a two-out hit until the eighth. Jason Palisch preserved the Aggies’ win with two scoreless innings out of the bullpen.

The two teams are scheduled to resume the series at 6 p.m. Friday.

Vandy starter Chris McElvain was greeted rudely Thursday by Kole Kaler when the A&M leadoff hitter took the fifth pitch of the game and planted it into the seats in right.

The Commodores countered with small ball in their half of the first. Enrique Bradfield walked and stole second, went to third on Jack Bulger’s groundout to second and scored on Spencer Jones’ chopper to first.

That would turn out to be the Dores’ lone run of the evening.

McElvain started the fifth by issuing back-to-back walks. Trevor Werner then poked a soft liner over second to plate a run and give the Aggies a 2-1 lead.

Brett Minnich started the A&M sixth with a single to right off Vandy reliever Patrick Reilly. Minnich took second on a wild pitch and then scored on a Troy Claunch single to right making it 3-1.

Texas A&M started the eighth with a walk and then a hit-and-run to put runners at the corners. A hit batter loaded the bases for Jack Moss who hit an RBI sacrifice fly to deep left off Vandy reliever Brett Hansen.

Austin Bost drove in another with a double to left making it 5-1 in favor of the Aggies.

That would be plenty of offense for Texas A&M (26-14, 11-8 SEC) as Vanderbilt went quietly in the ninth.

McElvain (5-3) pitched five innings and allowed two earned runs. He worked around four walks and two hits while striking out seven.

“I think he did give us a good start,” Corbin said. “The first inning is where the pitch count kind of got out of whack a little bit. That was an expensive inning for us.

“Where we got in trouble was the lead-off walks, the wild pitch after the single, the hit by pitch – those are the ones that extended the inning. And you have to give them credit to because five or six times they get past eight pitches. They have a balanced approach in the box, they’re tough to put away, you get to two strikes and they fight. They battle you.”

— Chad Bishop covers Vanderbilt for
Follow him @MrChadBishop.

  • Vanderbilt is two wins shy of 18 straight 30-win seasons (not including the shortened 2020 campaign).
  • Vandy is now 9-3 in league play when Bradfield scores at least one run.
  • Bradfield is now 28-for-28 in stolen base attempts and has 75 career stolen bases.
  • Jones has a 12-game hitting streak