Baseball: Vanderbilt 4, Stanford 2

Brian Miller

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (VUAD)- On a cold, rainy day at Hawkins Field No. 8 Vanderbilt finished off a series sweep of Stanford with a 4-2 victory.

Shortly before first pitch the temperature plummeted into the 30's and a cold rain moved into the area, which set up extremely tough conditions for both team's pitchers as the two teams combined to walk 14 batters on the day. Two of those walks played key roles in the outcome.

Vanderbilt (10-2) starter Tyler Ferguson cruised through six innings to set a new career-high but found trouble in the seventh when Alex Dunlap singled to lead off the inning and Brant Whiting worked a walk to put two runners aboard for the first time in the game for Stanford (4-7). Ferguson was lifted for reliever Carson Fulmer with no outs in the inning. The right-hander struggled with command immediately walking the first batter he faced to load the bases. Wayne Taylor cut the Commodores' lead in half with a sacrifice fly to center field before Fulmer issued his second walk to load the bases again. Fulmer struck out Tommy Edman for the second out and had a full count on Danny Diekroeger before issuing his third walk of the inning that forced home the tying run. Adam Ravenelle, however, quickly got the Dores out of the jam with a fly ball to right field.

The Stanford pitching staff could not find the strike zone in the eighth inning with the Commodores drawing four walks. Nolan Rogers' walk forced in Zander Wiel, who had reached on a walk after the catcher dropped a foul pop up, to put the home team in front to stay. John Norwood added an insurance run the hard way when the first pitch he saw hit him in the back.

Vanderbilt claimed the lead in the fourth inning when Wiel led off with a single and moved to third on Bryan Reynolds' double off the left field wall. Rhett Wiseman made it 1-0 VU with a single of his own. Two Stanford errors led to Vandy's second run with Reynolds leading off the inning by reaching on an error by third baseman Alex Blandino. Wiseman dropped down a sacrifice bunt to move Reynolds to third but second baseman Tommy Edman dropped the through to first allowing Reynolds to score all the way from second base.

Ravenelle earned the win in relief for the Commodores pitching 1.1 scoreless innings. Brian Miller earned his first save of the season despite a little ninth inning drama. The Cardinal again loaded the bases before Miller forced a fly out to right field to end the game and give Vanderbilt its third straight series sweep to open the season. Ferguson allowed two runs on five hits with six strikeouts over his six-plus innings in a no decision. Marcus Brakeman took the loss for the Cardinal giving up two unearned runs on four walks over 2.1 innings. Stanford starter Cal Quantrill gave up two runs, one earned, on four hits and four walks over five-plus innings.

Vanderbilt returns to action Tuesday at Hawkins Field when Tennessee Tech visits. The Commodores will also play on Wednesday at Middle Tennessee State before welcoming Winthrop for the final non-conference weekend series.

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