Dores Ambush Aggies

Early offense fuels Vandy to Friday night win

by Chad Bishop

NASHVILLE, Tenn. — Vanderbilt scored early and often Friday and cruised to an 11-1 victory at Hawkins Field to even a three-game series against Texas A&M.

Vandy (29-12, 10-10 SEC) plated two in the first and three in the second and never looked back. Seven different Commodores drove in at least one run and three hit a home run.

Dominic Keegan was a double short of the cycle going 3-for-5 with two RBIs.

The Commodores also got a solid start from Carter Holton (5-3). The freshman tossed five innings of shutout ball, struck out seven and worked around four hits and four walks.

“Letting the defense work behind me was the biggest thing, just in the big situations they made plays behind me,” Holton said. “Then just being able to throw all my pitches in all counts.”

Christian Little (S, 2) relieved Holton and allowed one earned run over the final four innings while fanning a season-high five batters.

After two quiet outs in the bottom of the first Friday, Spencer Jones unloaded an opposite-field blast to left making it 1-0. Keegan stepped in and on the first pitch he saw made it back-to-back jacks with a towering fly ball that just barely cleared the wall in center.

Calvin Hewett began the second with a walk before Tate Kolwyck singled through the left side. Two outs later with runners at second and third, Hewett and Kolwyck both scored on consecutive wild pitches making it 4-0.

Enrique Bradfield then launched his fifth homer of the season, a rope to right, putting the Commodores ahead 5-0.

With one out in the third, Keegan reached on an infield hit. He took second on a fielder’s choice and scored on Hewett’s line-drive single up the middle.

Bradfield’s walk and Jack Bulger’s double off the wall in left put runners at second and third with one out for Jones in the fourth. Jones chopped a ball to second to plate Bradfield and put the Dores up 7-0.

Little came out of the Vanderbilt bullpen in the sixth and immediately ran into trouble. After a walk, a single and a strikeout, Jordan Thompson hit an RBI sacrifice fly to left cutting the deficit to 7-1.

But that would be the only damage Little would suffer.

“It’s good for (Little) because he just needed to get some length,” Vanderbilt head coach Tim Corbin said. “I think once his adrenaline calmed down after that first inning I thought he settled in nicely, threw three or four pitches for strikes. I thought he was good. He was really good and that’s good for him – good for us.”

Bradfield led off the sixth with a triple into the left-field corner. He scored on Bulger’s sacrifice fly to right field.

Kolwyck added an RBI double in the seventh making it 9-1 and Keegan’s RBI triple in the eighth made it 10-1. Jonathan Vastine came off the bench and plated Keegan with an RBI groundout to provide the final margin.

Texas A&M starter Micah Dallas (4-3) gave up seven earned runs on eight hits, three walks and two wild pitches. The Aggies fell to 26-15 and 11-9 in league play.

Vandy and Texas A&M are scheduled to play the rubber game at 2 p.m. Saturday.

— Chad Bishop covers Vanderbilt for
Follow him @MrChadBishop.

  • Vandy’s back-to-back homers in the first inning marked the third time this season the Commodores have hit back-to-back home runs.
  • Vanderbilt is one win shy of 18 straight 30-win seasons (not including the shortened 2020 campaign).
  • Vandy is now 10-3 in league play when Bradfield scores at least one run.
  • Jones now has a 13-game hitting streak.
  • Keegan’s home run was the 23rd of his career, all coming in the last 101 games.