Freshmen lift Vandy over Indiana State

PORT CHARLOTTE, Fla. – Top-ranked Vanderbilt received a jolt from three freshmen on Sunday afternoon at Charlotte Sports Park in the Commodores’ 6-0 win over Indiana State to clinch the series.

Freshman right-hander Kyle Wright was dominant from his first pitch against the Sycamores (3-3) turning in six scoreless innings in his first career start to earn the win. The big freshman did not allow a hit until two outs in the third when leadoff hitter Landon Curry singled. Indiana State never threatened Wright through his six innings getting only two base runners to second base and none to third. Fellow freshman Will Toffey picked up Wright in the fourth with a nice defensive play. After a leadoff single, Toffey snared a line drive and fired to first to complete the double play. Wright finished off his afternoon by striking out the side in the sixth with all three outs going down looking. His six innings pitched are the most by a Vanderbilt (4-2) starter this season as he combined with three other VU pitchers for the team’s second shutout of the season.

While Wright was dealing on the mound, fellow freshmen Toffey and Jeren Kendall were providing a spark to the Vandy offense. The Dores grabbed an early lead in the first inning on a Zander Wiel ground out to score Bryan Reynolds before Toffey sparked a rally in the second with a leadoff walk. The freshman eventually came around to score on a Reynolds’ sacrifice fly to left field. Toffey again ignited a rally in the sixth, this time with outs. The Barnstable, Mass. native smashed a double over the center fielder’s head and scored one batter later on a Karl Ellison single to left. Kendall capped the rally with a clutch double into the left-center field gap to score Ellison and Tyler Green to blow the game open. Toffey scored his third run of the game in the eighth after doubling for the second time and scoring on a Ro Coleman single to right field.

Ellison, Kendall and Toffey paced the Vandy offense with six of the team’s nine hits with two hits each. For Kendall it was the first two hits of his career with both going for extra-base hits. His first hit was a lined triple into the right field corner before he followed up with his two-run double in the sixth. Toffey’s big day included a pair of doubles and a career-best three runs scored.

Indiana State starter Greg Kuhlman lasted just four outs into the game before being relieved in the second inning. The lefty was still pinned with the loss allowing two runs, one earned, on one hit and two walks. The Sycamores’ offense had just five hits and put only four runners in scoring position all day.

The Commodores return home to Hawkins Field on Tuesday to host UT-Martin at 4 p.m. as the first game of a five-game week at The Hawk.