Vandy Takes Series Opener

Carter Holton earns win as Dores defeat Gonzaga 12-2

NASHVILLE, Tenn. – Vanderbilt run-ruled Gonzaga 12-2 in eight innings Friday night to take the series opener at Hawkins Field.

The Commodores got a strong outing from starting pitcher Carter Holton (W, 1-0) in his first start since May 4, 2023. Holton went five innings and struck out eight while holding Gonzaga to two earned on two hits.

The Dores used 14 hits to push 12 runs across the plate, reaching double-digit runs for the third time this season. Jayden Davis drove in three runs and a trio of Commodores recorded their first collegiate base hits in Colin Barczi, Braden Holcomb and Ray Velazquez.

Gonzaga pieced together a two-out rally in the top of the second to take a 2-0 lead. The Bulldogs loaded the bases on a single and two walks before plating a pair of runs on a single through the right side.

Davis provided an immediate response. The Cookeville, Tennessee, native led off the bottom of the second and launched his first home run as a Commodore to center field, cutting Gonzaga’s lead in half.

Vanderbilt took the lead in the bottom of the fourth, scoring four times with just one hit. Davis led off the inning with a walk and Troy LaNeve followed with a single. After Davis Diaz worked a walk to load the bases, Chris Maldonado battled back from an 0-2 count to draw a walk and bring home Davis.

Jonathan Vastine plated LaNeve on a fielder’s choice and Jack Bulger and RJ Austin brought home another run each on back-to-back sac flies to put the Commodores on top 5-2.

The Commodores loaded the bases with no outs again in the bottom of the fifth, but Gonzaga was able to limit the damage to just one run as Camden Kozeal scored on a wild pitch.

Greysen Carter (S, 1) took over on the mound in the top of the sixth with Vanderbilt in front 6-2. Carter would finish out the game with a three-inning save, striking out three and giving up just three hits with no walks.

Jack Bulger hit his second homer on the season with one out in the bottom of the sixth. Three consecutive singles from Austin, Kozeal and Espinal made it 8-2 with Austin scoring on Espinal’s base knock. Davis drove in Kozeal on a groundout for Vandy’s third run in the frame.

With the 10-run rule in effect, the Dores needed three runs to end the game in the eighth. Barczi recorded his first collegiate hit in his first at-bat to start off the inning. Davis then drove in his third run of the game on a double down the line in right.

Braden Holcomb, in his second collegiate at-bat, ended the game with a two-run blast to center field, the first hit of his career.

Vanderbilt improves to 4-2 on the season and will meet Gonzaga for Game 2 of the series at 2 p.m. Saturday at Hawkins Field.