Fulmer, Pfeifer shut out Santa Clara in opener

Nashville, Tenn. – Top-ranked Vanderbilt used a pair of stellar pitching performances in the season opener to beat Santa Clara 4-0 Friday afternoon at Hawkins Field.

Carson Fulmer (1-0) started out with a bang, striking out the side in the first and six of the first nine batters he faced. The right-hander cruised into the fifth inning having allowed only one hit when the Broncos picked up a single and a walk. A ground out to Zander Wiel at first put the runners in scoring position but Fulmer responded with another ground out to end the threat and finish off his first start of the season. The junior earned the win with five shutout innings striking out seven and allowing two hits.

Philip Pfeifer, making his first appearance since 2013, picked up where Fulmer left off. The lefty allowed a two-out single in the sixth then retired 10 of the final 11 batters he faced to notch his first career save. Pfeifer worked the final four innings and recorded five strikeouts to complete the Dores’ first opening day shutout since 2010 when the team blanked Niagara 9-0 to open the year.

The VU offense scratched out the first run of the season in the third inning when Dansby Swanson led off the frame with a triple off the center field wall. One batter later, Swanson scored on a strikeout-wild pitch for a 1-0 Vandy lead. Ro Coleman stretched the lead to three runs with two outs later in the inning, lining a triple into the right field corner to chase home Zander Wiel and Will Toffey. Tyler Campbell manufactured the final of the day run in the sixth when he led off with a single before working his way around to third on a pair of wild pitches and scoring on Wiseman’s grounder to first.

Campbell led the way for the offense with a pair of singles as the Commodores matched the Hawkins Field record with three triples on the afternoon, getting three-baggers from Wiseman, Swanson and Coleman. Seven hitters in the Vanderbilt lineup contributed at least one hit in the victory.

Santa Clara (0-1) starter Jake Steffens took the loss, allowing four runs on eight hits over five-plus innings. Jose Vizcaino Jr. had one of the Broncos’ three hits in the game with a first-inning double.

Vanderbilt and Santa Clara will play a doubleheader tomorrow beginning at noon. Left-hander John Kilichowski gets the ball for the Commodores against Santa Clara right-hander Steven Wilson in Game 1. Junior Tyler Ferguson is set to pitch in the second game for VU opposite right-hander Peter Hendron for the Broncos.